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High profile -- Al Singleton

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 29, 2002


THE SOLID BEGINNING

Born Alshermond Singleton in Newark, New Jersey on Aug.7, 1975, he was drafted by the Bucs in the fourth round of the 1997 draft. A standout linebacker at Temple University, Singleton finished his career as the school's third all-time tackler (390 tackles). Playing both inside and outside linebacker, Singleton also recorded seven forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, five sacks and 11 passes defensed. He started 39 of his 41 games in college.

BIDING HIS TIME

For the past five years, Singleton has answered almost every call the team has made his way, and complained little. Entering this season, Singleton had played in 71 games, mostly as a special teams standout and a backup strongside linebacker. In 2000, Singleton made his first career start in Atlanta and made an immediate impact, recording 10 tackles.

THE BIG MOVE

With the departure of Jamie Duncan, the Bucs moved Shelton Quarles from the strongside to the middle and promoted Singleton to the starting lineup. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said the move was made in part because the team wanted to get Singleton onto the field.

ENJOYING THE PAYOFF

He is now six years into his NFL career, and Singleton is getting his due. And opponents are feeling the pinch. Singleton, in his first season as a starter, is tied with middle linebacker Shelton Quarles for the team lead in tackles with 28. "I still have a lot of growing to do," Singleton said. "The type of game I want to have, not a lot of people have had. My coaches have always said that you strive for that signature game, a game that you can out a stamp on and say, "This is how I play.' That's what I want to have."

THE QUIETEST MAN IN FOOTBALL

His reputation is warranted. Singleton hardly speaks. Ever. His teammates joke that hours may go by before you here him say something. And when he does, it usually is in a tone so hushed and serene that you have to be close to hear him. "It's something that has stuck with me since I started playing football," Singleton said. "I even developed a nickname at Temple. They called me the Quiet Storm in my freshman year and it's stuck with me."

A FINAL WORD

"I believe I'm playing well, playing some good ball. There are parts of my game that I want to pick up as far as hustling all over the field and taking it to a different level. I'll have to." -- Singleton on grading his own play.


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  • Gruden gives Bucs attitude adjustment
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