Shaun Alexander: From Hero to Zero

May 15, 2009 – 7:00 am by Lance Zimmerman

In 2005, there wasn’t a better running back in the NFL than Shaun Alexander. Scratch that, there wasn’t a better player in the NFL at any position, or so the league would have you believe. Shaun won the 2005 MVP trophy with 1880 Rushing, and 28 touchdowns overall. His 27 rushing TD’s was an NFL record at the time (since broken by LaDainain Tomlinson in 2006).

Alexander had it all. The Seahawks were fresh off an NFC Championship. Alexander was the reigning MVP. He had just been rewarded with an eight-year $62 million dollar contract, usually unseen to a running back of Alexander’s age at the time (28).

Then, the downturn started. The Seahawks lost All-Pro Left Guard Steve Hutchinson via poison-pill free agency, weakening the offensive line considerably. Alexander then broke a bone in his foot during the third game of the 2006 season. He missed considerable time that year, playing in only 10 games while rushing for 896 yards. In 2007, Alexander battled multiple nagging injuries and only ended up with 716 yards rushing in 13 games. He was released by the Seahawks in April of 2008, and signed with the Redskins six games into the 2008 season after an injury to Clinton Portis. Alexander saw the field sparingly, rushing 11 times for 24 yards in four games. He was waived the following month after Portis’ health improved.

Shaun Alexander joined KNBR AM radio in San Francisco to discuss his rise and decline and his hopeful return to the NFL in 2009.

Shaun was asked if he’s ever gotten over the questionable calls from the 2006 Super Bowl in which the Seahawks lost to the Steelers:

“That’s one of those games that forever will be like ‘was that the weirdest game anybody has ever seen?’ Even when we were playing it we were kind of like oh if the referees were having a bad day, which they did and it was kind of swinging both ways like both teams were getting bad calls, then it would have made a little more sense, but it just seems like the worst calls were on us. You have to learn how to live with it but it still does live a crazy taste in your mouth. We felt like we were a lot better defense, a lot better offense than what people understood. I don’t think that anyone will ever forget it. You let it go, but you don’t forget it.”


On if he’s going to be back with the Redskins in 2009:

“I don’t know. My agents are talking. I would love to. I’m training with my new trainers up in New Jersey like I’m going to be their (Redskins) guy and come play with them. Of course they have Clinton (Portis) and Ladell (Betts) and they’ve brought in a couple of guys. For me its like they know what I can do so they’re going to check to see what their guys can do and then after that we’ll make a decision.”

On what happened in Seattle that led to his downfall:

“I think it sounds kind of cliché-ish to say it, but if I tell everybody ‘ok I played the first three games of 06 with a broken foot’ and then pretty much sat out until November, I think I played seven games, and I had 700 yards rushing. It’s not like hey he had 700 yards in those seven games and that’s a bad season. Football has bumps and bruises. Guys on the team said I was blessed with a great first six years and the problem was there were some things I did really well that almost made it look a little too easy that you kind of miss it. I think my 06 season was a good season, if you take it for what it was. Now the 07 season, I broke my wrist the first game of the season and then I got my knee buckled midway through the season so I missed a handful of games there but even with that I split time with Mo (Morris) cause I couldn’t carry the ball with my left hand.”

Listen to Shaun Alexander on KNBR in San Francisco with Razor & Mr. T

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