BOZEMAN - In January of 2019, former Montana State linebacker Alex Singleton and the Calgary Stampeders mutually parted ways. Fresh off a Grey Cup victory, Singleton risked his future for a shot in the NFL.
“I loved my time in the CFL, but ultimately it’s why I went there, was to get the film to come back and have the opportunity to play in the NFL again. I was excited to put all my eggs in that basket,” said Singleton.
The risk paid off. The next day, Singleton signed a futures contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. But the work was just beginning as Singleton now needed to prove he belonged on the 53-man roster.
"You just do everything you can. Half the time you just hope you stay healthy long enough to have a shot at making the team," Singleton said.
The California native led the Eagles in tackles in the preseason, but despite a standout effort, Singleton didn't make the roster. Instead he was given a spot on the practice squad. He took the opportunity to grow.
Singleton had previously been in this position. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 2015 and bounced around to a few teams' practice squads, including New England and Minnesota. But he could never find his way to an active roster spot.
That changed in October. After a few injuries and roster moves, the Eagles needed linebackers. That's when Singleton was called up to the active roster. He played in a handful of games as Philadelphia made the playoffs.
And he credits the Bobcats for finally making in it the NFL after five years in the pros.
“Coach (Kane) Ioane was probably the reason I am where I am today. Just the study we put into our room ... as a senior group we really went above and beyond, focusing on teams we were playing, working out together, just doing all those, focusing on the little things the right way. That’s what’s carried me on to still do that today,” Singleton said.
But more importantly, Singleton plays this game for his older sister Ashley, who has Down syndrome. Ever since he was little, she was a driving force behind Singleton chasing his dreams. And he can't hide the smile on his face whenever he talks about his sister.
“Half the days during the week she still wears those Stampeders socks with an Eagles shirt and Bobcat sweat pants," Singleton said. "She’s my biggest fan, my best friend. It’s just great having her as my role model and just being able to do this for her.”
Ashley isn’t the only one in Singleton’s corner. Every day he suits up, he knows the state of Montana is supporting him.
“The fans always follow. Anywhere you go it’s kind of cool to walk in and (someone says), ‘Me and my dad only watch Eagles special teams,'" Singleton laughed. "A lot of people don’t watch special teams in the NFL. So the fact that there’s cities and a whole state that just watch Eagles special teams is pretty cool.”