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Notebook: Former Bear Singletary Returns To Lambeau

The last time Mike Singletary set foot in Lambeau Field was a little more than 17 years ago, when his Chicago Bears beat the Green Bay Packers by a score of 30-10 on Oct. 25, 1992. But that’s not what Singletary, the Hall of Fame middle linebacker who’s now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, remembers most about Lambeau. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 19


The last time Mike Singletary set foot in Lambeau Field was a little more than 17 years ago, when his Chicago Bears beat the Green Bay Packers by a score of 30-10 on Oct. 25, 1992.

But that's not what Singletary, the Hall of Fame middle linebacker who's now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, remembers most about Lambeau.

Singletary said this week that his last memory of Green Bay is the famous "Instant Replay" game between the Bears and Packers, which took place on Nov. 5, 1989. In that game, Packers quarterback Don Majkowski threw a game-winning 14-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe on fourth down for a 14-13 Green Bay victory.

Initially, the touchdown didn't count because the officials had ruled that Majkowski crossed the line of scrimmage before releasing the pass. But the call was overturned by a replay review, and the touchdown was good.

"That's a memory that I'll never forget," Singletary said. "It wasn't so much whether he was past the line of scrimmage or not, just the fact that it was a great play. I won't argue whether he was past the line of scrimmage or not. They deserved to win. They played their tails off. It was a good game."

Perhaps another reason Singletary remembers that game so vividly is it was one of the few times in his career he walked out of Lambeau on the losing end. In his 12 seasons with the Bears (1981-92), Singletary was 8-3 at Lambeau Field (both Packers-Bears games in 1982 were lost to the strike).

That record included eight wins in his final nine appearances at Lambeau, the lone loss in that stretch being the "Instant Replay" game.

Singletary brings his 49ers to Green Bay on Sunday with his own history in his favor but that of his new team working against him. Including five postseason contests, the Packers have won 11 of the last 12 meetings with the 49ers dating back to the 1995 NFC Divisional playoffs in San Francisco.

The 49ers' only victory in that stretch was in the 1998 NFC Wild Card game, also in San Francisco, when Terrell Owens caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Steve Young on the game's final play.

That's the game Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who grew up in the Bay Area, remembers most from the rivalry.

"I can't remember who I was rooting for that game," said Rodgers, who recalled the controversial fumble by Jerry Rice on San Francisco's final possession that couldn't be reviewed by replay. "I was a Favre fan after Joe Montana retired, but I was still torn because I was a Steve Young-49er fan (too). It was a great game with a great finish."

For those wondering, the last time the 49ers won at Lambeau Field was on Nov. 4, 1990, a 24-20 decision in which Montana threw for 411 yards and Rice had six catches for 187 yards, including a 64-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

Patience paid off

Linebacker Aaron Kampman certainly didn't want to miss last Sunday's game against the Cowboys. After all, he hadn't missed a game due to injury since 2003.

But completely resting his body for an entire week following the concussion he sustained in the Nov. 8 game at Tampa was the right prescription for Kampman, who was a full participant in practice on Thursday for the second straight day.

"It was different, but it was the best thing," Kampman said of sitting out. "Obviously you don't take risks with things like that."

Kampman passed his concussion test and got clearance to work out on Monday. Then he worked out again Wednesday morning before practice and is now back into his regular game-preparation routine.

"It's good to have my helmet back on," Kampman said.

"I didn't do anything for a week. They wouldn't let me. I couldn't do any physical exertion. But if it's going to continue to keep me fresh, that's a good thing."

Kampman spent a good portion of Sunday's game staying in communication with rookie linebacker Brad Jones, his replacement, and he came away impressed with how Jones handled all his assignments.

Running on empty

New practice-squad quarterback Mike Reilly, who was signed by the Packers late Wednesday, was on the practice field Thursday morning with nary a wink of sleep.

Reilly, a rookie from Division II Central Washington, took a red-eye flight from Seattle to Minneapolis and then hopped onto a connection to Appleton, Wis., arriving in Green Bay around 8 a.m. and hitting the practice field at 10:30.

"I'm so excited I don't think I could sleep if I wanted to," Reilly said.

A non-drafted free agent who was cut by the Steelers at the end of training camp this summer, Reilly had worked out for four teams since his release and was hoping to get another chance. He worked out for the Packers in September, then for the Bills and Seahawks, before getting a workout with the Saints this week.

He had been working part-time at his father-in-law's mechanical engineering firm in Pasco, Wash., (his degree is in mechanical engineering) and working out daily to keep his body and throwing arm in shape in case a call came.

The Packers began looking for a third quarterback on Wednesday when Brian Brohm, who was on the practice squad, turned down an offer from Green Bay to join the active roster and instead signed with Buffalo.

{sportsad300}"Coming from the situation I am and not being given an opportunity to play football for the last month and a half, I'm hungry," Reilly said. "I'm hungry to get out. Practice feels like a blessing really, rather than a burden. I'm excited to get out there, work hard and show what I can do."

Reilly started 46 games over four seasons at Central Washington, setting nearly every passing record in school history and throwing at least one touchdown pass in every game, an NCAA all-divisions record. He threw 37 touchdown passes against just six interceptions last season, when he was co-runner-up for the Harlon Hill Trophy, given to the nation's top D-II player.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy called him "a very athletic quarterback" who performed well in the preseason for the Steelers. In three preseason games, he completed 10 of 15 passes for 117 yards.

Injury/participation update

Three players were added to the Packers' injury report on Thursday.

Center Scott Wells sat out practice with concussion symptoms that he reported to the medical staff on Wednesday. Rookie Evan Dietrich-Smith took all the snaps at center in Wells' place, and McCarthy said it's "up in the air" whether Wells will be able to return to practice on Friday.

Defensive end Johnny Jolly and offensive tackle Allen Barbre were both limited in practice. Jolly has some tightness in his lower back, while Barbre sprained his ankle toward the end of the workout. The availability of either the rest of the week isn't clear.

Other changes to the injury report include linebackers Brad Jones (concussion) and Brady Poppinga (quad) and cornerback Charles Woodson (hip) all being upgraded to full participants, while fullback John Kuhn (hand) was downgraded to limited.

The rest of the report remained the same, with Kampman, linebacker Brandon Chillar (hand), tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) and tackle Mark Tauscher (knee) participating fully for the second straight day. Linebacker Desmond Bishop (ankle) and defensive end Cullen Jenkins (ankle) sat out for the second straight day, and linebacker Clay Matthews (jaw) remained limited.

The only changes to the 49ers' report were the removal of nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin (he missed practice on Wednesday, but it was not injury related), and a change in receiver Michael Robinson's status to "not injury related." He did not participate on Thursday.

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