Flying to new heights: linebacker Alex Singleton ‘earning his wings’ with Eagles

Photo courtesy: Philadelphia Eagles

Former CFL all-star linebacker Alex Singleton has been flying around making plays as a starter for the Eagles.

The 26-year-old has started the last five games for Philadelphia and played 100 percent of the defensive snaps in two consecutive weeks. In the last two outings, Singleton has 26 tackles, one sack — the first of his NFL career — and recovered one fumble.

“He’s definitely earning his wings. I like where he’s trending. I’m going to quote Bill Parcells: ‘Let’s not put him in the Hall of Fame just yet.’ And I say that with a lot of respect for Alex,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said in a video conference.

“All great players, probably any player in the NFL, they don’t really think about their success, they think about the plays that they gave up on the field. The plays that they had a chance to make, but maybe took a wrong step or looked at the wrong thing.”

Singleton has begun to prove he can be a legitimate long-term starter at linebacker. Even though it’s taken over five years for NFL talent evaluators to realize he should be on the field, Singleton has earned the trust of coaches and teammates in the city of brotherly love.

Former CFL star Alex Singleton is the best linebacker on the Eagles roster

He’s certainly been a major positive in a season where Philadelphia (3-6-1) is only in the playoff race because every team in the NFC East is under .500. The Eagles host Seattle (7-3) on Monday Night Football in Week 12 with a chance to reclaim top spot in their division.

The Seahawks inked Singleton to his first NFL contract — it was an undrafted free agent pact in 2015 which included a $3,500 signing bonus. Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright were the starting linebackers that year. Irvin is on injured reserve with a torn ACL in his knee, however, Wagner and Wright remain starters.

“The linebackers are still the same guys with Bobby and K.J. I was 21 when I was in Seattle. Those are two dudes that I looked up to,” Singleton said in a video conference.

Franchise quarterback Russell Wilson was coming off leading Seattle to two straight Super Bowl appearances prior to the 2015 season, winning XLVIII and losing XLIX to the New England Patriots. Singleton has gone from short-lived teammate to trying to defend Wilson who entered Week 12 leading the NFL with 30 touchdown passes.

“You see him scramble and do a lot, he makes a lot of plays. Those first seven weeks he made a ton of plays,” Singleton said.

“It’s a winning culture. It’s like here, it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be a good time, but you gotta win football games.”

That’s exactly what Singleton and the Eagles are focused on doing when the versatile linebacker starts for the first time on Monday Night Football.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.