Singleton making his case
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.”
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.