Former CFL linebacker Alex Singleton is in the thick of training camp with the Denver Broncos, but the struggles of the Calgary Stampeders are never far from his mind.
“It’s killing me, I’m always watching,” Singleton said in a recent interview with TSN’s Farhan Lalji. “I’m just used to going to Grey Cups; not always winning but going. They’ve got to figure it out, but I’m tuned in every week.”
The Thousand Oaks, Calif. native, who claims Canadian citizenship through his mother, was drafted by the Stampeders in the first round of the 2016 CFL Draft and enjoyed a stellar three-year career north of the border. He amassed 328 tackles, four sacks, six forced fumbles, and an interception, winning Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2017.
Singleton helped Calgary reach the Grey Cup in each of his three campaigns, winning the title in 2018. However, the team has not won a playoff game since their standout middle linebacker left for the NFL and has gotten worse every year, currently in the depths of a 3-7 season.
With a 19-18 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night, the team has dropped four of their last five games and has not scored an offensive touchdown in the last three. Mercifully, the latest defeat, which came after Singleton’s interview, probably wasn’t witnessed by their biggest NFL supporter due to the demands of the preseason.
“My parents, my mom and sister, they’re always watching. We get out of here at nine o’clock every night, so a lot of the games I miss but I’m tuned in and we gotta start figuring it out,” Singleton said.
The six-foot-three, 240-pound defender has done exactly that for himself in the NFL, carving out a starting role first with the Philadelphia Eagles and now with the Broncos. He had a breakout campaign in 2022, his first with Denver, recording 163 total tackles, six tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, three knockdowns, and one forced fumble over 17 games.
Through four NFL seasons, Singleton has made 59 appearances and 31 starts, amassing 425 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and a pair of defensive touchdowns. That level of production earned him a three-year, $18 million extension from the Broncos this offseason.
Despite that long-term security, the 29-year-old doesn’t want to end his career in Denver. Instead, he hopes to enjoy a long NFL tenure before finishing with one last ride in Calgary, a final season in the CFL to retire as a Stampeder.
“That’s still the plan, as long as I stay healthy,” Singleton said. “It’s getting further and further away and I think there’ll be other people in my life that might have an opinion on that at some point, now that I’m getting 30, but I want to.”
“At worst, I’ll be up there at some point. As long as Dave (Dickenson) and (Brent) Monson, those guys are still in Calgary, I’ll find a way to be there. But I wouldn’t play anywhere else, don’t get me wrong.”
Any farewell tour remains years away and the Stampeders will have to learn how to win again without their one-time defensive leader. Their next opportunity to do so will come on Friday, August 25 against the Toronto Argonauts, while Singleton will commence his fifth NFL season on Sunday, September 10 against the Las Vegas Raiders.