But in the prism of just that day, one phone call hit Alexander as hard as he has leveled kickoff returners from Philadelphia: His employer told him it could not pay him what he was worth.
“If that’s what it is, Bruce, that’s what it is. I’ll talk to you later,” Alexander told Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen before hanging up and beginning to weep in his hotel room.
“I knew then, right then, I wasn’t a Redskin anymore. It hurt. I really got emotional.
“Even now, I’ll be working out with Ryan [Kerrigan] or Perry [Riley], someone says, ‘Are you guys Redskins players?’ ‘No, I’m a Cardinal.’ The whole dichotomy is weird. I sometimes gotta be real careful because those emotions pop up occasionally.”
There’s nothing quite like the sting of rejection from a family who first believed in your talent — validated and promoted you, made you finally feel like you belonged in your chosen profession — showing you they aren’t really a family at all; they’re merely a business who used you like you used them.
The NFL churns out special teamers a dime a dozen, but Lorenzo John Alexander is anything but a dime a dozen. He is the finest of people, the type of stabilizing influence organizations who hope to go from bad to good to great need through their most chaotic transitional phases — a glue guy when so much else is coming apart.
’Zo is the type of person who makes sure ridetoprovide.org, his fourth annual charity bike ride that benefits underserved youth, will go off without a hitch next Saturday at Reston Town Center along the W&OD trail — because he keeps his commitments.
He’s also keeping his house here and the Pilates studio in Ashburn that he co-owns with friend and former teammate Kedric Golston.
“I just don’t work here anymore; that’s the difference,” he said Friday afternoon as his daughter Zoe crawled all over him, begging for attention.
From the bling-ing life of young NFL dads last fall: While we were eating lunch at the Fish Shack in Ashburn, Alexander’s 18-month-old son Mason needed his diaper changed. Golston, realizing his defensive brethren was plumb out of disposables, dashed to his truck in the parking lot, producing a Winnie the Pooh Huggie in the nick of time. Never had a player had his teammate’s back more.
It’s seeing those kind of everyman qualities in elite athletes that would make me a lousy general manager. I wouldn’t move players fast enough that others deemed expendable. I would run right past talent and right toward heart, to the good souls who brought intangibles such as character and genuine belief into locker rooms.