After practice Wednesday afternoon, Alfred Morris stepped on to a dais behind a podium at Redskins Park. He still wore his shoulder pads under his No. 46 jersey. The laces of his cleats were still tied tight. If Morris always looks like he wants more, it is probably because he does.
On Sunday night, the Redskins hurled Morris into the Dallas defense as if teaching him a lesson, giving him a career-high 33 chances. He barreled into and through defenders, absorbing and dishing out enough punishment to leave him tenderized. Three days later, Morris smiled and wanted to know what came next.
“I didn’t feel any different,” Morris said. “Just a typical Monday or Tuesday. A little soreness. Nothing out of the ordinary. I’m a workhorse. I feel like I was made for this.”
So, no, the first playoff game of Morris’s career will not be a challenge for him. His toughest task may be handling the attention heaped onto the NFL’s newest rushing star. After the game, Morris saw his phone light up with 130 text messages. On Wednesday, the NFL named him the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
“That’s an honor,” Morris said. “With so many great backs, great quarterbacks, so many great players, period, in the NFC, it’s an honor for me to be named that. I’m just thankful I was able to go out there and do my part and help my team get a win. Me coming in as a rookie, a sixth-rounder, not much expected of me, to accomplish some of the things I accomplish, it’s an honor. I don’t take it for granted.”
Morris found himself in the spotlight Wednesday, a place where he does not necessarily feel comfortable. He understands, though, that more will come, and he’s okay with that.
“I really don’t care for it, to be honest,” Morris said. “But I know it’s part of it, and I accepted that back in college. I knew doing this on this level, you could definitely get a lot of media attention when you’re successful – or when you’re doing something negative.
“But that’s not why I play the game. I love the game. I’m just thankful I get to do something I love to do. Not only on Sundays, but during the week as well, practicing. I’m out there having fun. I think when people have fun, they do a good job. It’s just a fun experience. I’m just loving it.”
Morris will join Robert Griffin III, Kai Forbath and so many other crucial young Redskins in his first playoff game Sunday. He dismissed the extra intensity it will bring, saying he would approach this week like any other.
“I’m not paying attention to that,” Morris said. “All these big games, like Sunday night, Monday Night Football, I don’t add any pressure to myself. Every day I come in, it’s just another day at the office.”