Mike Singletary says he vetoed Ben Roethlisberger trade to 49ers in 2009

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There was once a time where the San Francisco 49ers could have had Ben Roethlisberger as their starting quarterback if not for then-head coach Mike Singletary.

According to The Athletic, the 49ers and Steelers had a deal in place for the two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback in 2009, which was in the aftermath of when Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault.

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Singletary was called into a meeting with 49ers owner John York, CEO Jed York, director of player personnel Trent Baalke and other executives and was informed of the trade, which Singletary vetoed.

He vetoed the trade for two reasons: He felt an obligation to give Alex Smith a chance and he also wanted to make sure he practiced what he preached.

“I had been telling the team I wanted a team of character,” Singletary said. “I felt I had to be true to that. But if I could do it again, I’d do it differently.”

It is hard to fault Singletary’s reasoning for vetoing the trade, but the Niners would struggle the next two seasons, especially on offense, and Singletary was ultimately fired before the end of the 2010 season.

Roethlisberger, meanwhile, never faced any discipline — legally or from the NFL — for his multiple sexual assault accusations and would continue to have a Hall of Fame career.

While Singletary has served as an assistant coach for the Vikings and Rams since his Niners tenure, he has yet to gain consideration as a head coach in the NFL and last worked in the league in 2016.

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