Alex Singleton Has an Opportunity to Make No. 49 His
It’s exactly seven weeks away from the Eagles scheduled opener against the Washington Football Team on Sept. 13 but the number 49 isn’t going to spark much reminiscing.
There are some uniform numbers players generally don’t want and our top No. 49 in Eagles’ history exemplifies that.
As a rookie seventh-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2010, Jamar Chaney was once the low man on the totem pole when issued the number. He made the team, however, and even started two games, compiling 42 tackles - five of them for a loss - as well as a forced fumble.
By the next season, Chaney graduated to No. 51 and the starting lineup, albeit for only one season where he was steady if not spectacular, tallying 92 tacks and three interceptions.
Overall, Chaney spent three seasons with the Eagles, starting 23 of the 44 games he played.
Current number 49 and No. 3 overall:
Alex Singleton. A former CFL star in Calgary, Singleton caught on with the Eagles last season as a core special-teamer.
The Eagles LB corps as a whole is arguably the biggest question mark on the roster and while most don’t factor Singleton in as a potential contributor who’s to say he can’t compete with largely unproven players like T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, Jatavis Brown and rookies Davion Taylor and Shaun Bradley?
As an undrafted player out of Montana State, Singleton originally tried to catch the eye of Pete Carroll in Seattle before Bill Belichick and New England wanted a look and finally Mike Zimmer with the Vikings. While it didn't generate the desired result for Singleton the fact that three of the best defensive minds in football felt he deserved an opportunity foreshadowed that something was there.
That manifested itself in Canada where Singleton was eligible to be drafted because he has dual citizenship due to his mother being born in Toronto.
"I think you take things from every defense and every coach," Singleton told SI.com last year. "The goal is to learn everything you can and keep moving forward with more information and take advantage of that.”
In 2016 just as Doug Pederson was first putting his stamp on the Eagles, Singleton took his place in the middle of the Calgary defense and the result was the two All-Star selections, an Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017, and the Grey Cup in 2018.
More so, he did all of that wearing No. 49 so the normal change of numbers with success isn't in the cards.
"I'm a different player now," said Singleton. "I don't think there is any better way to improve than by playing and the time I spent [in the CFL] really helped me."
Top 2 to wear number 49:
2. Wayne Colman. A native of Ventor in South Jersey who attended Atlantic City High School and Temple, Coleman spent parts of two seasons with the Eagles in the late 1960s after being signed as an undrafted free agent, starting four games at outside linebacker in 1969 before moving to New Orleans where he spent the next six seasons, most of them as a starter.
1. Jamar Chaney. See Above.
Runner-up. Todd Bell. A king-sized former Pro Bowl strong safety in Chicago, the Eagles brought Bell in for the 1988 season as a linebacker who started all 16 games wearing No. 52. By the next season, Bell moved to the No. 49 while playing in four games before a broken leg ended his career.
Others: Dan DeSantis, Robert Thurbon, Mel Bleeker, Pat McHugh, Jerry Williams, Glenn Glass, Jim Thrower, John Tarver, Eric Johnson, Tom Caterbone, Luther Broughton, Andrew Jordan, Josh Parry, Dan Klecko, Jamar Chaney, Tom Nelson, and Boston Scott.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, and every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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