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49ers' Singletary interested in interview with Falcons

ATLANTA -- Mike Singletary would not elaborate Friday on his interest in pursuing the Atlanta Falcons head coach position for a second straight year.

One year ago, Singletary - the San Francisco 49ers' assistant head coach - was a finalist in the Falcons' coach search. The Falcons instead hired Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, who this year quit after only 13 games to take the job at Arkansas.

Singletary said this week he would "absolutely" have interest in the Atlanta job, but on Friday he relayed word through 49ers spokesman Aaron Salkin that he "did not want to address Atlanta at this time."

"He says his mind is focused only on beating Cleveland," Salkin said, referring to San Francisco's final game Sunday.

Singletary was a Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears. Though he has no experience as a head coach or coordinator, Singletary's playing experience could make him a popular choice with Falcons players embittered by Petrino's sudden exit.

Petrino was the Falcons' choice after Jim Mora was fired last year.

Emmitt Thomas has been the interim head coach for the final three games. The Falcons (3-12), who have lost six straight, end their season Sunday with a home game against Seattle.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank also plans to hire a new general manager to replace Rich McKay, who may remain as president. It is expected the new general manager will lead the search for a new coach, possibly delaying the Falcons' interview process.

The Falcons cannot contact Singletary until after the 49ers (5-10) end their season Sunday at Cleveland.

Singletary could be a candidate in San Francisco if 49ers coach Mike Nolan is fired.

Singletary told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday night he would like another interview with the Falcons.

"I want to be a part of building something special," Singletary said. "In all honesty, I think Arthur Blank is the kind of NFL owner you can do that with."

Singletary's agent, Bob LaMonte, did not return an e-mail message on Friday.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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