(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dan Pompei of The Athletic released a story on Wednesday about former Bears Hall of Fame linebacker and 49ers head coach Mike Singletary. It wasn't a major party of the article, but it raised many eyebrows when Singletary revealed that the 49ers had a trade in place for Ben Roethlisberger, who was accused of sexual assault in July of 2009.
It was the first of two separate sexual assault allegations against Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger wasn't found guilty in either allegation. The first case was settled and the second was dropped.
Pompei wrote that then, 49ers owner John York, CEO Jed York, director of player personnel Trent Baalke and other executives called Singletary to a meeting to discuss the trade proposal for Roethlisberger. Singletary vetoed the deal, as he saw potential in fifth-year quarterback Alex Smith.
Singletary was committed to Smith, but if he had to go back in time, he wishes he would have gone through on the trade request for Roethlisberger.
“I had been telling the team I wanted a team of character,” Singletary told Pompei. “I felt I had to be true to that. But if I could do it again, I’d do it differently.”
It's unclear what the 49ers were willing to give up in the trade, or if the Steelers were even listening to offers, but it's definitely an interesting story that San Francisco had a plan set in place.
With Roethlisberger's legal issues, the organization's patience was getting thin, and there was a lot of trade speculation at the time. The Steelers even approached the Raiders and Rams about a trade in 2010 after Roethlisberger's second sexual assault assertion. They also tried to land Donovan McNabb before the Eagles traded him to Washington in April of 2009.
It was reported at the time that the Steelers wanted to send Roethlisberger to the Rams as part of a package to move up to No. 1 overall in the draft to select Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.