For fun, bring handcuffs and a snake
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 6, 2002
Strongside linebacker Al Singleton may not yet be a household name but here he is on bad toes, snakes, handcuffs, Webster's Dictionary, Hoop Dreams, Tootie and gambling.
* * *
RM: Nate Webster and Shelton Quarles say you have some messed up, mangled, nasty toes.
AS: Look, I'm a hard working man. I come home sore, body all banged up. That's a tribute to how I work. Guys with pretty feet, how hard do they work? Yeah, I guess I get my toes stepped on a lot and my nails come off because the blood gets under them. I would say my toes are bad, but for a football player, that's expected.
RM: Why do you like snakes?
AS: They've always fascinated me. I loved watching them on nature shows and how they would strike, lightning quick. I got into them because I like to see them eat. It's intriguing to watch how a snake of a small size can fit a rat (of a larger) size in his mouth (and) swallow the whole thing.
RM: Most memorable college moment?
AS: I had a lot of memorable moments at old Temple University. But there was this situation that happened one night. One of my teammates got his tires slashed, and it was over some girl that he was with and some other guy that liked her. Word got around campus. So I had these handcuffs, and I grabbed my handcuffs . . .
RM: Pull up, pull up . . . handcuffs?
AS: Man, I'll get to that later. My roommate tells me it's at one dorm right around the corner, so we go downstairs and there's some guys from the team already waiting. We go around and keep meeting up with some other guys on the team and by the time we to the spot, there was about 40 of us, all players. We all squeezed into the cars to meet these guys in a secluded area.
RM: So, it's about to be on.
AS: We were about to throw down. . . . Turns out the guys never showed. But that was memorable.
RM: Let me get back to the handcuffs. What you doing with handcuffs?
AS: The handcuffs were by my bed. . . . Decorations, I would say.
RM: You wear No. 51. If you could have 51 of something, what would it be?
AS: I would like to have 51 of my closest friends and family members, if I could gather that many, and have them come to a game. It would be the last game I'm going to play. I'm retiring and I have 51 people who were with me and helped me from day one. That would be cool.
RM: On Saturdays, when teammates are rooting for FSU or Miami or Ohio State, you've got Temple. Ouch.
AS: We do play hard and we're getting better. When we're playing normally no one really cares, but if we're playing like Miami, then I have to deal with Warren (Sapp) or Nate (Webster). . . . Those are long days.
RM: So Webster's Dictionary is adding some new phrases and has hired you to give definitions. Define, "Off the Chain."
AS: Something that is rarely seen, unheard off or unbelievable.
AS: Can you put a picture in there and say, "See, Vivica Fox." It's pretty much self explanatory. Seeing a booty, that's delicious.
AS: Haters are people who get on you when you do bad and get on you when you do well.
RM: The book that has meant the most to you.
AS: I was in college and it was called, The Intellectual Heritage. We were in this group forum and nobody wanted to read the book so I read the book. I didn't want to let the group down, so I had to sit down and explain everything that was happening. It was very deep.
RM: Best line from a movie.
AS: That's easy. There was a documentary called Hoop Dreams, and there was this young guy going off to college and this principal or dean in the high school, who had been giving him a hard time, told him, "Don't forget us when you make it big." And the young guy replied, "All right, but don't forget me if I don't."
RM: What were you scared of as a kid?
RM: You like snakes, but you were scared of centipedes?
AS: They had those little legs and the way their bodies move. The legs, man, the legs.
RM: Describe in one word: Newark, New Jersey.
RM: Message to Warrick Dunn.
AS: Never got a chance to tackle you in Tampa, hopefully I will in Atlanta.
RM: You have any superstitions?
AS: I do. Every year I go back to my high school football field, where it all started. I sit out there and reflect on things. It's kind of like my rebirth going into a new season.
RM: Who was the first girl you were sweet on?
AS: Tootie from the Facts of Life. She went on to be Regine (Hunter) in Living Single. But, I had it bad for Tootie.
RM: I'm curious, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if, in fact, a woodchuck could chuck wood?
AS: As much wood as woodchuck could.
RM: Dumbest money ever spent in the NFL?
AS: Gambling. It's a big problem in the NFL (among the players). Guys waste so much money, sometimes as much as a paycheck on friendly (bets) that just get big.
RM: What's the most absurd thing you've ever seen someone put money on?
AS: One time, it was in my rookie year, it was pouring with rain and we came off the bus and there was this big puddle of muddy water. And someone said, "Hey, I bet you $100 that someone will jump in the water." Before I know it, it steadily increased to $1,000. Then, splash. . . . He had to pay up.
RM: Al, you still have the handcuffs on the bed, don't you? Don't lie.
AS: I do. It's just in case someone gets into some trouble. I might have to restrain them.
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