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Alex Singleton Picking Up Where He Left Off in 2020

The well-traveled linebacker is out to prove last season's success was no fluke, as the veteran continues to look like the Eagles' best at that position

PHILADELPHIA - Days before the Eagles played the Seattle Seahawks in late November last year, a reporter asked a question to Pete Carroll about Alex Singleton during a conference call.

The Seahawks coach pondered the question and said something to the effect of, sorry, I don't remember him.

Singleton had a couple of different stints on Seattle's practice squad, but it wasn't until 2020 with the Eagles that he broke out in a big way, ultimately leading the team in tackles with 120.

Don't look now, but Singleton is determined to show that last season was no fluke. He has 14 tackles in two preseason games despite not being able to practice for more than a week as he returned from the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

"I feel 100 percent," said Singleton after his return on Aug. 8. "I felt 100 percent really the whole time. Like I said, little symptoms, but I felt pretty good. Being kind of quarantined inside I had to figure out a way to run inside my house."

Singleton had an 11-yard hallway in his apartment that he ran back and forth in, trying to stay in shape during his quarantine.

It must have worked based on how he's played so far this summer.

Alex Singleton takes the field for a training camp practice

Alex Singleton takes the field for a training camp practice in 2021

"The practices, it’s the ones and twos getting all the reps, so just to be able to be out there, and get the reps and get the looks that you need going into a season, is the biggest thing going in," he said earlier in the week. 

"Feeling confident. You’re getting the reps that are building into a season. You’re expecting to be on the team this year instead of really wondering where you’re going to wake up the next Tuesday morning. You know you’re going to be here so you can put both feet in and fully invest in the Eagles."

That comfort level was born from a terrific 2020 season, putting a bow on his well-traveled football career with a tale of never giving up in pursuit of a dream.

His journey to becoming a starting NFL linebacker has been well chronicled, released six times after the Seahawks signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Montana State in 2015, before finally latching on with the Eagles

Along the way was a stop in Canada to play for the CFL's Calgary Stampeders.

From 2016-2018, Singleton became a household name in the Canadian Football League, winning the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award in 2017 and multiple All-Star nominations in 2017-2018.

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Singleton’s focus on returning to the NFL never wavered. Once his natural football instincts translated to consistent productivity on the field, the league he yearned to play in came calling.

The Eagles signed him on Jan. 8, 2019, but even that didn't last. He was waived on Aug 31 before being brought back to the practice squad days later.

Despite being a part of the Eagles’ initial roster cutdown to 53 players, Singleton made enough impression on Philadelphia’s brass to make the practice squad.

The spark needed to ignite his inspirational journey came, finally, in October, when veteran LB Zach Brown was released.

Even before that, his impact was immediate, replacing an injured T.J. Edwards in Philadelphia’s Sunday night matchup with the San Francisco 49ers and notching a pick-six with less than six minutes remaining in the game.

"This is a what-have-you-done-lately league," said Singleton speaking to the media days after scoring against the 49ers. "You don't take anything for granted. You make a play and that's great. You feel like you're contributing to the team winning. You feel like you have earned some respect."

A couple of weeks later, Singleton became a starter at linebacker for the Eagles, effectively replacing an injured Nate Gerry. 

Singleton quickly emerged as the Eagles' best linebacker from a productivity standpoint.

Not only did he make a huge impact in Philadelphia, but he did league-wide as well. Since the Eagles' Week 9 bye, he had the second-most tackles (63) and run stops (26) in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

Now, two games into the 2021 pre-season, it’s becoming abundantly clear, Singleton is picking up where he left off last season, and he’s ready to prove to his new defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon, that he’s a starting linebacker for years to come.

Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley, and Eric Wilson initially took a lot of notice in training camp. but it's Singleton who has since asserted himself at the position.

"If one play defines your career," he said last fall, "you're not a good or great player. I want to be good or great on every single play that I play, so it's back to square one on Wednesday like it is every other week."

It's that what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mentality that has spurred his career, given him the drive to succeed. It's the mentality that continues to drive him every day and has put him in a good position for another solid season this fall.

Conor Myles covers the Philadelphia Eagles for SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-hosts the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast on Bleav Podcast Network. Reach Conor at ConorMylesSI@gmail.com or Twitter: @ConorMylesSI

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.