Calgary Stampeders’ head coach Dave Dickenson senses the entire country of Canada is supporting Alex Singleton south of the border.
Kim Singleton, Alex’s mother, was born in Toronto, which made the likeable linebacker a Canadian citizen and eligible to play as a national in the CFL. Singleton starred for three season with the Stamps while NFL teams finally took serious notice of his football ability.
“We think our guys can play down there, given the right team, and the right situation and opportunity,” Dickenson said.
“We enjoy seeing these guys get an opportunity, we all believe in them. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.”
It was close to the latter for Singleton.
Following a standout training camp and preseason with the Eagles in 2019, he was released among the final 53-man active roster cuts, though Philadelphia wanted him to stay. He agreed on a salary with Calgary for a potential CFL return, however, Philly guaranteed his practice squad contract for the entire season.
“It didn’t really go well for him right away, in fact he got released, he was really close to coming back to Calgary and then Philly decided to sweeten the offer,” Dickenson said.
Singleton played 10 games exclusively on special teams last season, making five total tackles. His work as a core teamer earned him a 53-man roster spot to begin the 2020 schedule. Following an injury to starting middle linebacker T.J. Edwards in Week 4, Singleton snatched an interception and return it for a touchdown to clinch the Eagles’ first win of the season.
“He works hard, loves football, great emotion, plays unselfish, does his job — we’re proud of him,” Dickenson said.
“As Canadian Football League fans, trust me, I love it, I love seeing the CFLers.”
Since that pick-six on Sunday Night Football, Singleton has started four straight games for Philadelphia on defence. In Week 10 against the New York Giants No. 49 was flying around the field and recorded a career-high 15 total tackles — eight solo and seven assisted. Especially without CFL football in 2020, Canadians are watching Singleton emerge as a rising talent in the NFL.
“Canada has really adopted Alex. A couple years ago he got Canadian status, but he didn’t feel like he was Canadian,” Dickenson said.
“Well, I think Alex feels Canadian. Yeah, he’s from Cali, but I really feel like he knows Canada is in his court.”