The Super Bowl closed out the NFL season, but a new professional league kicks off on Saturday.
The eight-team Alliance of American Football includes dozens of former 49ers coaches and players as part of its inaugural season.
The AAF has been referred to as a developmental league of sorts. It’s an organization where players could gain momentum to launch or re-launch an NFL career or maybe just make a decent living playing the game they love.
There are quite a few players who have spent time with the 49ers who are now members of AAF teams. Even more significantly are the coaches that have spent time on the 49ers staff that are now coaching for the AAF, including Mike Singletary and Dennis Erickson.
Singletary, Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears, was on the 49ers coaching staff for six seasons beginning in 2005.
Singletary took over as interim head coach after Mike Nolan’s midseason firing in 2008. He made a memorable first impression when he sent tight end Vernon Davis to the locker room in his head-coaching debut.
After being hired as head coach shortly after the 2008 season, he lasted just one full season before getting fired with one game remaining in the 2010 season. Jim Tomsula took over and coached the final game of the 2010 season. Singletary’s record with the 49ers was 18-22.
Singletary’s time with the 49ers was tumultuous and memorable. Several press conference moments are still memes to this day. Tales about his time with the 49ers are still told like one would tell stories over a campfire.
Singletary has spent time on several coaching staffs including the Vikings from 2011-2013 and as a defensive assistant for the Rams in 2016. He is now head coach of the Memphis Express of the AAF.
Erickson did not have a successful run as head coach of the 49ers, either. He recorded only nine wins out of the 32 games he coached over two seasons. He took over as head coach after the team fired Steve Mariucci at the end of 2002.
Last month, Erickson was named to the College Football Hall of Fame. He has been out of coaching for two years after leaving Utah as the assistant head coach/running backs coach in 2016. He is now the head coach of the Salt Lake Stallions.
Here are individuals in the new AAF with ties to the 49ers:
P Jeff Locke (49ers training camp, 2018)
QB Jack Heneghan (49ers training camp, 2018)
LB Carl Bradford (49ers, 2016)
OT Andrew Lauderdale (49ers practice squad/training camp, 2017-’18)
DT Will Sutton III (49ers training camp, 2018)