Eagles' Alex Singleton Waited Years for Chance to Play in NFL

Alex Singleton faced a huge decision after the Eagles released him on Aug. 30 following a strong preseason.

Go back to the CFL, where he was a two-time all-star and a job was waiting, or stick around in Philly and toil in anonymity on the Eagles' practice squad.

Singleton said he would have been more than happy to head back to the Calgary Stampeders if it didn't work out here.

But as much as he loved his time in Canada, his dream has always been to play in the NFL. So he swallowed his pride and toiled in anonymity on the practice squad the last six weeks, hoping for a shot at the 53-man roster.

The conversations I had with management upstairs and the coaches and everything, I knew the opportunity would come," Singleton said. "Just keep working, keep developing my craft, and the time would come, and there's no better time for it to come.

Surprisingly, you can earn more money on an NFL practice squad, where the minumum salary is $8,000 a week, than in the CFL, where the average salary is about $4,500 a week.

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But it wasn't really about the money for Singleton, who got a raise to $29,264 per week with his promotion to the 53-man roster.

I wanted to be here," he said. "That was why I didn't just leave after the preseason. If there was a legit chance I'll be playing football for the Philadelphia Eagles. I was going to stay, and now when it comes full circle, I'm happy I got that opportunity.

Singleton, 25, is actually the Eagles' oldest healthy linebacker right now.

He takes the roster spot that opened up when the Eagles released starter Zach Brown on Tuesday.

It looks like undrafted rookie T.J. Edwards will get a lot of Brown's reps, and Singleton will move into Edwards' role as a special teamer and backup linebacker.

One hundred percent ready," Singleton said. "I've been ready since that last preseason game and I've been ready to play for this team probably since OTAs. And I'm just excited to just go out there and continue to do what I've done you know in practice and in the preseason. … It's what I've been planning for for the last you know, six months and the last five years.

Singleton graduated from Montana State in 2015, went undrafted and then had brief stints in camp with the Seahawks, Patriots and Vikings, but he was released each time. He just wasn't ready. 

He said the Alex Singleton of 2015 and the Alex Singleton of 2019 are completely different people and completely different football players. 

Oh, night and day," he said. "If I could go back to myself then coming out of Montana State? I didn't know much. I didn't know how to study. Not that I wouldn't have said I was ready to be a pro, but myself now? I'm so much more prepared now. I know how to prepare now.

It's certainly an unusual route to the NFL that Singleton is taking. The Ventury County, Calif., native gave the NFL a shot, it didn't work out, had three excellent years in Canada, and is ready to give the NFL another shot.

This is the ultimate longshot story. Could an undrafted linebacker from the CFL really make an impact for the Eagles? It became a little less improbable this week.

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