In the last six years, Alex Singleton’s football journey has taken him from Montana State to an NFL training camp, to three practice squads, to stardom in the CFL, back to a practice squad and finally onto an NFL roster.
His journey took him somewhere new on Sunday night:
Into the end zone.
On a team full of unlikely hero stories, Singleton’s still stands out. And in the Eagles’ 25-20 win over the 49ers on Sunday Night Football, Singleton’s pick-6 in the fourth quarter won the game for the Eagles.
“Man, it’s so big. I’m so happy for him, man,” Jalen Mills said. “That guy, he’s had a long journey and for him to get that on a turnaround and get that interception and score, that was so big for this team. I’m so happy for him.
“Dude works extremely hard not only on special teams, but like I said, he got his opportunity on the field and he made the most of it. I know that’s not going to go unseen by the coaches. For sure, I’m thinking he’s going to get a little bit extra playing time. And I look forward to seeing him out there.”
The only reason Singleton, 26, was even playing in the fourth quarter was because T.J. Edwards had to leave the game with a hamstring injury. But with just under 6 minutes left to play, 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens dropped back, threw left and hit a wide open … Alex Singleton, who had dropped into coverage.
Singleton picked off the pass and took it the other way.
“He kind of threw the ball right to me,” Singleton said. “My heart kind of skipped a beat. Just caught it, went with it. Knew I had to get in the end zone. We talk about it all week, to score on defense. It was the only thing going through my mind.”
After scoring the eventual game-winning touchdown, Singleton and his teammates found the Sunday Night Football camera in the corner of the end zone. He said that was something the defense talked about during the week.
For Singleton, it was his first touchdown since his junior year of college.
A lot has happened since then.
Back in 2015, Singleton was signed by the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent but didn’t make the team. After training camp, he joined the Patriots’ practice squad, then back to the Seahawks’ practice squad, then to the Vikings’ practice squad. After the 2015 season, he was the 6th-overall pick in the CFL draft and began a career north of the border.
Singleton ended up being a star in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders. In his three seasons in the CFL, Singleton had 311 tackles, was a two-time All-Star, was the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2017 and won the Grey Cup in 2018.
But he still wanted to make it in the NFL.
So before last season, he signed a futures deal with the Eagles in January 2019 and put together an impressive training camp. Despite that, he was cut again and faced a decision: Either go back to Canada or stay on the Eagles’ practice squad.
Singleton remained in Philadelphia and it wasn’t long before he got the call-up as a special teamer. He didn’t play a single defensive snap in 2019 but worked on special teams. This season, he finally made the roster at final cuts but had played just 11 defensive snaps before Sunday.
When the Eagles waived him at final cuts before the 2019 season, it was the sixth time since 2015 that Singleton was asked to turn in his NFL playbook.
So to go from all that to the end zone on Sunday night has been quite a journey.
“To be able to finally have that come, to be able to make a play for that team is what you do it for,” Singleton said on Sunday night. “As much as I enjoy it for myself, I’m happy this team won. If we don’t win at the end, you’re sick to your stomach whether you scored or not. It’s huge to get his win for the team and to be able to be a part of it."