In the sport of baseball, the greatest gift one can possibly receive is typically unwrapped at birth. If a baby eventually becomes a ballplayer, exiting the womb as a “lefty” is a baseball advantage akin to a life born into wealth.

Of course, there are other gifts: Speed, strength, size, hand-eye coordination and intelligence. But history proves that many of those “other” gifts can be overlooked when a ball player is left-handed.

“A six-foot-sumthin’ hard-throwin’ lefty?”

That’s right.

“Well then, what are we waiting for? Let’s draft him.”

That may very well have been the story attached to Alex Singleton, a big, strong, left-handed pitcher at Thousand Oaks High School in California. Funny thing, his Little League days were spent playing catcher – one of the few positions at which being a lefty is a rarity, if not a deterrent – and a last-minute decision to even play high school baseball was accompanied by a small, white lie.

“I’m a pitcher,” the freshman told his coach, Butch Wilson, the father of former major leaguer Jack Wilson.

Fact or fib, Singleton made the team… as a pitcher.

And while the story has a promising beginning, the unhappy ending was, unfortunately, right around the corner. That summer between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Singleton suffered the worst kind of injury any baseball pitcher can – a torn UCL, which requires Tommy John surgery. Today, there’s a sizable scar that darts across his left elbow, marking the end of promising – perhaps – career as a major leaguer.

That part of Singleton’s story only ended on the diamond, however. Chapter 2 picked right back up on the gridiron.

“Wait a second,” a hack of a golfer and inquiring reporter prods. “Why are you swinging a golf club right-handed? Didn’t you say you were a lefty?”

Singleton looks up from his spot on the driving range at Fossil Trace Golf Course in Golden and examines the grip he’s got on his PXG driver, as if to acknowledge the merit of the question.

“Yeah, that is kind of strange, isn’t it?” he says rhetorically. “I don’t know why they did that.”


“When I was little, I threw left-handed. I guess that was a good thing. But for some reason I wasn’t sure which way I should bat, so they taught me to swing like a righty.”

The nerve. Why would anyone steer away from youngster’s potential to become a sweet-swinging lefty?

“I can hit both ways though, I guess. I think I could hit a golf ball left-handed if I needed to, but I’ve just always swung right-handed.”

As luck would have it, which direction Singleton ever threw or hit ultimately never mattered. Oh, he hits alright – to the tune of 177 tackles last season, the most in a single season by any Denver Bronco ever. Funny thing, there’s not a running back in the NFL who’s ever once asked which way he throws, bats or hits a golf ball. These days when Singleton hits, it’s generally right smack dab in the middle and it arrives with a thud.

About to enter his sixth NFL season, Singleton has established himself as a hitting machine. At 30 years old, however, his journey to the Denver Broncos wasn’t exactly a straight line. Like his golf game, there were plenty of twists and turns and trips to the rough in search of the meaning of life.

Out of high school, Singleton played four years at Montana State, a school with a great football tradition, but one that’s generally not on every NFL scout’s travel itinerary. As a member of the Big Sky Conference, the FCS school and its players are largely overlooked by those making decisions at the next level. Such was the case with Singleton, who went undrafted but was signed as a rookie free agent by Seattle in 2015.

He didn’t stick with the Seahawks and was released prior to the season. He was picked up by the Patriots, who signed him to their practice squad and then the Vikings, who did the same. Neither team ever called him up to the 53-man roster, however. So, in 2016, Singleton packed up his cleats and headed north – to Canada.

As the sixth overall pick by Calgary, Singleton was an instant hit. After a strong rookie campaign, he made a major mark in his second year. Not only did he record the most single season tackles of any player in Stampeders history, but he was the team’s nominee for the CFL’s most outstanding defensive player, most outstanding Canadian and most outstanding player awards; he also earned honors as a member of the CFL All-Star Team. He replicated the effort in his third season, making the CFL All-Star Team for the second straight year.

“I went to Canada and learned how to become a pro,” Singleton now says, six years removed from his days as a Stampeder. “It was one of the best times I’ve ever had in football in my life. It’s a hard league. Half the players have to be Canadian. The other half are American. There are 1300 players in the NFL, there are only 400 in Canada.

“Back then, there were less than 2,000 pro (football) players in the world. That’s not a lot of people. So, to be able to make those teams is hard. It’s competitive football. It’s good football. It’s different football, but it’s fun to watch. It’s also a league where you’re considered a part-time employee. So, for me to learn to be a pro, I had to do it on my own. If I went in at 6 a.m., the rest of the team didn’t start till 9. It was one of those things where you had to kind of choose where you wanted to be. I loved it and I gave everything to it.”

He also loved when the NFL took notice and finally came calling. Following his 2018 season, Calgary released him so he could pursue the more notable league south of the border.

Philadelphia took notice of his impressive tackle totals – he’s always been a hitting machine – but also liked what he did on special teams for Calgary. As such, the Eagles signed him, cut him and then instantly signed him back to their practice squad. He was finally called up in October. During his first season in Philly, he only saw action as a special-teamer.

But Singleton has made a career out of seizing opportunities, even if they’ve been few and far between.

“If you’re a first-round pick, you’re going to have 10 opportunities to prove you’re the guy,” he says. “But if you’re an undrafted guy from a smaller school, you might have one.

“I would say in my first year I didn’t have any. I guess I could say I was slept on then, but whenever I’ve been given an opportunity to take the next step, I’ve been able to do that. And most of the time, if not every single time, it’s been one opportunity – one guy missing a practice, one guy being injured for one game.”

Though he’d never seen the field as a linebacker with the Eagles, he seized the opportunity that was presented to him four games into the 2020 season. Against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football, Singleton went into the game following an injury to fellow starting linebacker T.J. Edwards. With less than 6 minutes remaining in the game, Singleton picked off a Nick Mullens pass and returned it to the house for a 30-yard touchdown. The play sealed a 25-20 win for the Eagles and likely put Singleton on the map for the first time in Philly. By Week 6 he was named a starter. In Week 11 he led the team with 12 tackles, sacked Baker Mayfield and recovered a fumble. When it was all said and done, Singleton, who only started at linebacker for 11 games, led the Eagles in tackles that season with an impressive 120.

And really, he’s never looked back. As an NFL linebacker, there’s never been a season in which Singleton didn’t improve his tackle totals. If his stat line was put into a line graph, it would look much like the flight pattern from his pitching wedge – up, up and up. Or, as displays it: 5, 120, 137, 163, 177.

Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton (49) celebrates with team mates after a fumble recovery against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Singleton hits. A lot.

Alex Singleton is an excellent football player.

He does not describe himself in the same manner when it comes to the game of golf.

“It’s a fun game to be shitty at,” he says proudly.

That, of course, is not entirely true. He’s not shitty. World class athletes generally aren’t, no matter the game. He can hit it a country mile and his feel around the green is solid. But like most golfers, inconsistency is the name of the game. There is plenty of room for improvement in Singleton’s golf game, something he’s more than okay with at the moment.

“I would say for me, right now, it’s 100 percent social,” he says. “I play it to get away from football, but still be around the guys – just not talking football. I love the sport, but I’m not to the point where I want to get lessons and focus on it. Right now, it’s just something to go hang out with the guys, hit some golf balls, and just have a good time.

“I think a lot of guys that are good are kind of annoying to play with – more or less. They’re great to help you – and I’ve played with a bunch of guys who definitely make me a better player when I’m there – but they also complain the whole round, whereas I have a good time.

“If I lose a ball, we drop a ball. Let’s play ball.”

He swears he’s never broken 100 – a questionable claim, as he certainly looks capable of ducking under golf’s version of the Mendoza Line – but says it almost as if it’s a badge of honor.

“That’s a true 100,” he says emphatically, adding that if one isn’t playing by the rules, there’s no point in keeping score. “If my ball goes out of bounds, I’m hitting three. I’m not dropping a ball near the area, or saying, ‘Well, it wouldn’t have been lost if the people were here.’”

There are no galleries – definitely never crowds of 76,125 fans – during an Alex Singleton round of golf. He did, however, become one when he took his dad to watch The Masters this spring. It’s the kind of bucket-list item a son can afford when he finally signs that first “real” NFL contract, like the 3-year, $18 million contract he inked in 2023 with the Denver Broncos, including a $4 million signing bonus and $9 million in guaranteed money.

During the trip to Augusta, his father told him, “I now understand why people want their ashes buried at Amen Corner.” Singleton wasn’t sure if that was a “request” or merely an observation, but he took it as a sign that the trip was well worth the money and time spent.

Bouncing around without a guaranteed future in pro sports likely has a tendency to shape one’s financial patterns, though. And while nobody would accuse Singleton of being “cheap,” he’s not about to splurge when splurging isn’t necessary. Golf is great; free golf – as is often afforded to Denver Broncos in this town – is even better. Titleist Pro V1 golf balls are swell, but Singleton, who can surely afford them now, isn’t playing one of those unless he finds one in the rough; he strictly plays Kirkland brand, a good but reasonably priced ball and something he picks up every time he goes to Costco (which, he admits, is pretty often).

What Singleton lacks in pure golf skill, he makes up for in mental toughness, an unmistakable trait within the hard-hitting linebacker. He suggests that his golf game resembles his football game, in both good and bad ways.

“I think, sadly, it goes together too much. When I’m in my backswing, all of a sudden I get to the top and I’m like, ‘I gotta kill this ball!’” he says. “That’s the bad part of it. But I think that’s just the nature of being an athlete. When I wake up, if I’m going to go golfing, I assume I’m going to shoot par.

“No matter what the shot before is, you just line up on the ball – and you could be on a par 5 and just duffed your drive 150 yards – and I think I’m going to hit my 3-wood 300 yards onto the green. Right? There is zero thought that I could top two shots in a row. You gotta believe.”

Broncos fans can read between the lines and assume the same philosophy applies on Sundays. If Singleton gets beat, he’s damn sure not dwelling on it, nor is he going to let it happen again. He’s fond of the fans in Denver, just as he enjoyed the hard, sometimes cruel, fans in Philly.

“They’re kind of old school fan bases. They like that nitty gritty football,” he says with a smile. “And I think that’s kind of the way I play. I think the passion I play with shows why I play. If it was up to me, I will play as long as I can. I would love to play five, six, seven, eight more years.

“And hopefully every single one of those years is in Denver.”

Perhaps that’s meant to be, or perhaps it’s not. Life in the NFL, like the par 4 Singleton has just doubled, can be cruel and unpredictable.
For now, Singleton is happy to call Denver home, and even happier to be casually swinging his way – right-handed for some reason – around one of Colorado’s many great courses. He’ll be chasing golf’s elusive century mark like it’s a running back that slips outside the hashes.

Alex Singleton’s Favorite Colorado Courses

He’s played a bunch, but here are a few of his favorites…

“It’s so tough, but it’s what a Colorado course should look like.”

Bear Dance
“The ‘bear claw’ on No. 6 makes for a great par 4.”

Fossil Trace
“That’s a course a lot of guys really like to play. The layouts are amazing.”

The Ridge at Castle Pines
“I’ve been invited to play a few times and it’s always a great time.”

“Some people only get to play it once in their whole lifetime. I guess as Broncos we’re very lucky to get to play it somewhat regularly.”

(Randy Parietti Photography)