Alex Singleton: joining Broncos was ‘pretty easy’ decision, excited to be reunited with Russell Wilson

Photo courtesy: Denver Broncos

Canadian-American linebacker Alex Singleton signed with the Denver Broncos as a free agent on Friday following a three-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles. He drew interest from a number of teams on the open market but felt enticed by Denver after they illustrated the way in which he fits their scheme.

“This was one of the places that showed me the most respect and showed me what I’ll be able to do for them. The second that happened it was a pretty easy decision for me to make to want to come here. I’m here to compete. I’m here to do everything I can to make this the best team in the AFC West and the best team in the NFL,” Singleton said via videoconference.

The 28-year-old was the NFL’s eleventh-leading tackler in 2021 after recording a career-high 137 total tackles over 16 regular season games. He attributes his success to a relentless worth ethic that allowed him to excel on defence and special teams while playing 1,980 total snaps over the past two seasons for the Eagles.

“If you turn on the tape, I think I made plays. I got after it. I think the biggest thing was always giving 100, 110 percent no matter what the situation was, no matter what part of the game we were in, just always making sure that I was going to give everything I could for the organization to win football games,” said Singleton.

Denver was among the NFL’s bottom-feeders in 2021 when it came to special teams, finishing dead-last in average kickoff return, average kickoff return allowed, and opponent net punting. Singleton kickstarted his NFL career in 2019 by playing well on special teams, something he’s open to repeating with the Broncos.

“It’s how I’ve put my foot in the league. It’s how I got off practice squad and finally started playing games in this league. To be on a team, that’s first and foremost — you can play every defensive snap and I still think there’s a third phase to this game for a reason. It’s important,” he said.

“You always want to be on a competitive team and that starts with how your special teams plays. It fuels your offence and it fuels your defence. As a leader in Philly last year for that specific unit, to be able to kinda bring a culture that I’ve learned and how I like the game played in that phase here and contribute and be part of that, I’m excited.”

The six-foot-three, 240-pound linebacker started his CFL career with the Calgary Stampeders as a standout on special teams before taking over as the starting middle linebacker midway through his rookie season in 2016. He credits his three-year tenure north of the border with teaching him to play the game with a more serious approach.

“I was able to become a professional and learn how to incorporate every single part of my life to be the best player I can be for my career and for the team that I’m on. I was able to bring that down when I went to Philadelphia the last three years and continue to grow on that and continue to do that,” he said.

“That’s definitely the biggest thing I got out of going up to Canada was learning to be a professional and winning because the team I was on was a pretty good one.”

Photo courtesy: Philadelphia Eagles

Singleton was twice selected as a CFL all-star while playing for Calgary and was named the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2017. He originally started his career as an undrafted NFL free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, providing him with an opportunity to watch how Russell Wilson — acquired by the Broncos via trade earlier this month — approached his craft.

“The leader he was to me as a young pro in this league and just kinda seeing it come full circle now that we get to be teammates again, to me that on a personal level is what made it exciting about coming here,” said Singleton.

“Just knowing the leader and the guy that he is on and off the field. He’s a winner, the years that we’ve all watched him play, he’s a guy that leads teams to wins and you know that’s what this league is all about is getting Ws and so I’m obviously really excited to be part of that.”

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.