Seifert: On further review, decision to trade Haley “a mistake”


Head Coach George Seifert and QB Steve Young vs. Atlanta Falcons at Candlestick, 9/10/95. 49ers won 41-10. Photo by Michael Zagaris.
Head Coach George Seifert and QB Steve Young vs. Atlanta Falcons at Candlestick, 9/10/95. 49ers won 41-10. Photo by Michael Zagaris.
(Charles Haley photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)
(George Seifert photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

Talk of Fame Network

When we had Hall-of-Famer Charles Haley on the air last year, he said that, given the chance, he’d like to apologize to former 49ers’ coach George Seifert for behavior that led to Haley’s trade from San Francisco to Dallas in 1992.

OK, fine. But now Seifert has responded, saying that letting Haley go was “a mistake” and taking responsibility for a move that helped launch Dallas to three Super Bowls in four years.

“Yeah, that was a mistake,” Seifert said of the Haley trade on the latest Talk of Fame broadcast. “I think I would’ve handled him better had I had another year or two under my belt, you might say, as a head coach. There were problems. But it’s the responsibility of the coach to deal with problems. There were not a lot of problems on our team, and, at that particular time, it was a problem.”

That was well documented. While he was a Hall-of-Fame pass rusher, Haley could be a Hall-of-Fame pain in the keister, too — someone who could be moody, disruptive and a threat to team chemistry. And that’s what bought his ticket out of San Francisco. Tired of dealing with a sometimes volcanic personality, the 49ers sent Haley to Dallas for a pair of draft picks, and the rest you know. He not only starred there but won three more Super Bowls to bring his total to five.

“You look back,” said Seifert, “and it’s like losing a ballgame. We lost the (1990) championship game to the New York Giants, and I’ll never forget it. I remember when I was playing high-school football in San Francisco, and in in 1957 we lost the city championship on Thanksgiving Day to Balboa High School. And I never forget it.

“I never forget the New York Giants’ game, and I never forget the mistakes I maybe made during the course of my career with regard to personnel. It was unfortunate that worked out that way.”

Nevertheless, all is well that ends well, and today Seifert and Haley not only have made up but are friends.

“I’ve had number of visits with Charles,” said Seifert. “In fact, he was recently inducted into the San Francisco 49er Hall of Fame, and I was there for that. Prior to that, a couple of years ago, Charles and I had a couple of meetings, and they were very positive.  I consider Charles a friend.”

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