Eagles

Eagles' Alex Singleton waited years for chance to play in NFL

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.

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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Eagles sign long snapper Rick Lovato to 4-year contract extension

Eagles sign long snapper Rick Lovato to 4-year contract extension

A few years ago, Rick Lovato was working in his family’s restaurant, Joyce’s Subs and Pizza, in Lincroft, New Jersey, just waiting for a chance.

He wasn’t the best at making pizza, but Lovato could make a mean breakfast sandwich. 

Maybe he still can, but Lovato won’t have to worry about picking up an apron again anytime soon. He’s in the middle of what might end up being a long and profitable NFL career. 

The Eagles on Tuesday signed the 27-year-old long snapper to a four-year extension that will keep him in Philadelphia through the 2023 season. 

Lovato has been playing this season on a one-year deal he signed in February and was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season. It’s worth noting that kicker Jake Elliott and punter Cameron Johnston are also in the final years of their contracts, so perhaps another move or two will be coming. 

While this deal won’t break the bank the way Brandon Brooks’ extension did last week, the Eagles seem interested right now in re-signing some players they want to keep around. 

The Eagles initially signed Lovato in December of 2016 after Jon Dorenbos broke his wrist. Lovato performed well enough that the Eagles traded Dorenbos the following August and made Lovato their full-time long snapper. 

Lovato has played in 45 regular-season games and five playoff games with the Eagles, including Super Bowl LII. He has a giant Lombardi Trophy tattooed on his side. 

Being a long snapper is kind of like being an offensive lineman in some ways. The less you hear about the long snapper, the more likely he’s performing well and not making mistakes. So, for Lovato’s sake, hopefully this is the last time you hear his name for a few years.  

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Miles Sanders chasing records and more in 10 Roob Stats

Miles Sanders chasing records and more in 10 Roob Stats

We've got some overall defense, some Zach Ertz and some Miles Sanders in this week's edition of 10 Roob Stats.

Yes, we can always come up with positive stats even when the Eagles lose!

—> The Eagles have held three straight opponents to 17 or fewer points and fewer than 300 yards. This is only the second time that’s happened in the last 11 years. They also did it against the Steelers, Bears and Browns — the first three games of the Doug Pederson Era. Only the Patriots and 49ers have also had such streaks this year.

—> Carson Wentz’s current streak of 13 straight games with a touchdown pass is 3rd-longest in Eagles history, behind Wentz’s 22-game streak over the 2016 through 2018 seasons and Randall Cunningham’s 18-game streak in 1987 and 1988.

—> Wentz played his 50th career game Sunday. Among all QBs in NFL history in their first 50 games, he ranks 9th in most TD passes, 9th in passing yards, 12th in accuracy, second in completions and 3rd in interception percentage and has the 4th-highest passer rating.

—> Zach Ertz’s nine catches Sunday give him 55 this year. He’s the first player in Eagles history with six straight 50-catch seasons. Keith Byars [1988-92], Jeremy Maclin [2009-14], and Brian Westbrook [2004-08] had five.

—> Zach Ertz now has 17 career nine-catch games. Only Tony Gonzalez [25] and Jason Witten [20] have more in NFL history among tight ends. The last two games mark the fourth time in his career he’s had nine catches in consecutive games. The only other players in Eagles history to do that once are Pete Pihos in 1955 Terrell Owens in 2005.

—> One more Ertz: He’s increased his career total to 492 receptions, 20th-most in NFL history by a tight end. He only needs 14 to pass six more tight ends and move into 14th place. At his current rate, he’ll be in the all-time top-10 by Week 3 of next season.

—> The Eagles allowed 14 TD drives of 60 yards or more the first six games of the season. They’ve allowed 4 the last four games.

—> They’ve also held six straight home opponents under 100 rushing yards, the 6th-longest streak in franchise history and 3rd-longest since 1955.

—> The Eagles are on pace to allow fewer than 1,400 rushing yards ad fewer than 3.8 per carry in the same season for only the second time since 1991 and the sixth time since 1955.

—> He didn’t have a huge game Sunday, but Miles Sanders did add 47 scrimmage yards to his 2019 total and now ranks second among all rookie NFL running backs with 688 scrimmage yards, behind only Josh Jacobs of the Raiders, who has 1,067 (and 97 more touches).

—> Sanders’ 688 yards are most ever by an Eagles rookie running back after 10 games (35 more than Lee Bouggess in 1970) and second-most by any rookie, behind only DeSean Jackson (732). Sanders needs to average 52 yards from scrimmage the rest of the season for 1,000. The only Eagles rookie to reach 1,000 scrimmage yards was Jackson (1,008 in 2008). The most by a running back was LeSean McCoy’s 945 in 2009.

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