Sin­gle­ton mak­ing his case

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Tom Moore [email protected]­er­times.com; @TomMoorePh­illy

Alex Sin­gle­ton en­joyed tremen­dous suc­cess in Canada.

Play­ing line­backer and spe­cial teams, Sin­gle­ton ex­celled dur­ing three sea­sons with the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers. The in­di­vid­ual high­light was be­ing named the CFL’s de­fen­sive player of the year af­ter mak­ing 123 tack­les in 2017, then had another 123 tack­les and helped Cal­gary de­feat Ottawa 27-16 to win the ’18 Grey Cup.

But hav­ing turned 25, Sin­gle­ton wanted to take another shot at the NFL, which is why he’s try­ing to crack the Ea­gles’ 53-man ros­ter.

“What I did in three years [other play­ers] try to do their whole ca­reers or even smell half of it.,” said Sin­gle­ton af­ter Tues­day’s prac­tice at the No­vaCare Com­plex. “To be able to do what I did and be healthy and have this op­por­tu­nity was kind of what I planned in the be­gin­ning. It’s worked out ex­actly how I wanted so far. Take the op­por­tu­nity and just run with it. It’s been go­ing well so far.

“I think ev­ery time I’ve put on tape, I’ve played fast, played phys­i­cal and done ev­ery­thing I could.”

In the Birds’ three pre­sea­son games, the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Sin­gle­ton has logged 108 de­fen­sive snaps and 26 more on spe­cial teams, which are quite im­por­tant and one of his strengths. Sin­gle­ton has been ac­tive, reg­is­ter­ing a team-high six tack­les against the Jaguars in Jack­sonville. Plus, Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus graded him high­est (91) among all Ea­gles’ de­fen­sive play­ers in the opener vs. the Ti­tans, when he had three stops and a forced fum­ble.

Sin­gle­ton has a fi­nal chance to make his case for a ros­ter spot dur­ing Thurs­day night’s pre­sea­son fi­nale against the Jets at MetLife Stadium. With no starters ex­pected to play, Sin­gle­ton should be on the field quite a bit again.

“I think I’ll be play­ing a few reps on Thurs­day,” Sin­gle­ton said. “Af­ter that, let the chips fall where they’re go­ing to fall.”

Sin­gle­ton re­ceived a lit­tle taste of the NFL by spend­ing por­tions of 2015 with the Pa­tri­ots, Sea­hawks and Vik­ings on their prac­tice squads af­ter go­ing un­drafted out of Mon­tana State. Sin­gle­ton, who signed a fu­tures con­tract with the Ea­gles in Jan­uary, might have a de­ci­sion to make if the Ea­gles waive him Satur­day af­ter­noon and then of­fer him a place on the prac­tice squad.

“I’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Sin­gle­ton said. “Ob­vi­ously, it’ll be some­thing we have to think about. I’ve done a year of the prac­tice squad, [so] I know what it’s like. Ev­ery op­por­tu­nity is dif­fer­ent. You never know what in­ten­tions they could have. You just let it all hap­pen.”

Though he’s a free agent in Canada, Sin­gle­ton could choose to re­turn to Cal­gary if he doesn’t se­cure one of what should be six line­backer spots on the Birds’ 53-man ros­ter. One pos­si­bil­ity would be agree­ing to a con­tract that would al­low him to take another shot at the NFL next sum­mer. Since his mother was born in Toronto, Sin­gle­ton has Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship and doesn’t count as an in­ter­na­tional player, thereby in­creas­ing his value.

Sin­gle­ton loved his time in Cal­gary and is still rent­ing a home in south­ern Al­berta.

While elite play­ers such as Car­son Wentz wouldn’t have to con­sider the CFL, Sin­gle­ton be­lieves there isn’t a great deal of dif­fer­ence be­tween Canada and the other 90 per­cent of NFL play­ers. It’s about be­ing in the right place at the right time and max­i­miz­ing the op­por­tu­nity, which he has done.

“I’ve played the best foot­ball I could play,” Sin­gle­ton said. “I feel like I’ve put the best tape [out there] and I get one more chance to do that. Hope­fully, I’ll just be an Ea­gle and don’t re­ally have to worry about any­thing. But whether it’s here, some­where else or in Canada, I know — in­juries aside — I’ll be play­ing foot­ball this year. That’s pretty nice.”

PHE­LAN M. EBENHACK/AP

Ea­gles line­backer Alex Sin­gle­ton brings down Jaguars run­ning back Thomas Rawls dur­ing a pre­sea­son game on Aug. 15. Sin­gle­ton has had a solid pre­sea­son but is still bat­tling for a ros­ter spot.

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