When you’re Alex Singleton -- 25 years old and by no means assured of an Eagles roster spot, despite having been defensive player of the year in the Canadian Football League -- reps and exposure are what you seek.
Bad luck to other Eagles linebackers in this training camp could be good luck for Singleton. Kamu Grugier-Hill is out for the rest of camp and the preseason, at least, with a Grade 3 MCL sprain. Nigel Bradham suffered a foot injury in the New Orleans playoff loss and still isn’t a full practice participant. And Paul Worrilow is “week-to-week" after experiencing swelling in his repaired right knee.
All this could help Singleton, 6-foot-2, 240, gain some sort of foothold, on special teams if not as a prominent member of the linebacking corps.
“I’ve played all three spots, if we’re in base, and the nickel package, I’ve played Mike and Sam,” Singleton said after a light practice Monday, which came after Sunday night’s public practice at Lincoln Financial Field. “The first two weeks of camp, it’s gone fairly well. Still, obviously, making mistakes here and there, but taking everything in as much as I can and getting ready for these preseason games, because that’s when you’ll be able to get into a rhythm.
"A lot of special-teams reps, a lot of defensive reps, kind of see where you are conditioning-wise and where you are as a football player.”
Even after bringing back 2018 practice squad veteran Asantay Brown, the Eagles have just six healthy linebackers.
“There’s not many of us. We’ve had a lot of reps the last couple of days,” Singleton said.
Singleton is from Thousand Oaks, Calif., and played at Montana State. But after being released by the Seahawks, Patriots, the Seahawks again, and finally the Vikings, he decided to try his luck in the CFL.
Singleton’s mother was born in Toronto, and he has dual citizenship. CFL teams must have seven Canadian starters, so this made him a hot commodity, even if teammates did joke that he was a “fake Canadian,” he said.
Three years in, Singleton had a secure gig with the Calgary Stampeders, who won the Grey Cup last season, but contemplating his 26th birthday in December, he figured if he was going to try the NFL again, this was the time. He worked out for four teams before signing with the Eagles.
“This was the best opportunity for me,” Singleton said.
Worrilow, meanwhile, is a 29-year-old NFL veteran who knows that swelling, a year after knee surgery, is an ominous sign.
“As soon as I can go run, I’ll run as hard as I freaking can. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m feeling good about it,” Worrilow said Monday.
Worrilow said his ACL surgery in spring 2018 actually involved much more than just one ligament. If he can’t make it back, he said, he and his brother are opening a physical therapy clinic in Chadds Ford that could be a big part of his future. He said he plans to continue to live in his native Delaware, regardless.
Eagles two-time Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks is hoping to clear another hurdle next week, when he sees a doctor regarding his Achilles tendon. Brooks tore the tendon in the Eagles’ 20-14 playoff loss to New Orleans on Jan. 13.
When training camp started, Brooks was in uniform but prohibited from participating in team drills. He said that will be the next step in his recovery.
“Hopefully next week when I see the doctor I can get cleared for contact and we will go from there,” Brooks said.
When camp began, Brooks was asked when he thought he could play. “If not the first game, within the first couple,” he said.
The Eagles open Sept. 8 at Lincoln Financial Field against the Washington Redskins.
Brooks said his rehab has gone well.