Truth is, Lorenzo Alexander no longer is a “One Man Gang.” He hasn’t been for some time.
The catchy nickname stuck back in 2006, when Alexander, hoping to improve his standing after joining the Washington Redskins, played multiple positions on offense, defense and special teams. An established veteran now, Alexander has fewer jobs, though his determined approach hasn’t changed on the field or in helping others.
“Still just trying to do everything I can in whatever I do,” Alexander said last week. “I had a lot of help to get to where I am. I want to give back as much as possible.”
And Alexander’s charitable efforts have continued despite the uncertainty of the NFL lockout. He’s awaiting the results of the fight between owners and the players, currently playing out in the courtroom, and he would rather be training at Redskins Park. But Alexander still has work to do.
His second charity bike event is scheduled April 23 on the W&OD Trail. Alexander and other current and former Redskins players will lead Ride to Provide (RideToProvide.org), which Alexander’s ACES Foundation sponsors to primarily benefit orphans and impoverished women and children in Africa. Proceeds from the event, which begins at Reston Town Center, also will help underprivileged children in the region, Alexander said, and in disaster relief efforts in Japan.
Last year’s Ride to Provide raised almost $10,000, “and we’re trying to do it bigger and better this year,” Alexander said. “It takes more than just one person to make positive changes. That’s why it’s all about bringing the community together to help people, which is very important to me.”
In five seasons, the former undrafted rookie free agent has steadily risen on the depth chart, becoming a starter at outside linebacker during the 2010-11 season after beginning his Redskins career on the practice squad. Alexander has earned a bigger role — in the locker room as well — each season, succeeding despite multiple position changes and a heavy special teams workload.
Before last season, the Redskins rewarded the versatile Alexander with a three-year contract as much for his solid work as a reserve defensive lineman as his crushing tackles on kickoff coverage. For the first time in his career last season, Alexander also was one of Washington’s captains.
Among the players most actively involved in the Redskins’ community relations program, Alexander has used his increasingly higher profile locally to help the less fortunate because “that’s what you should do,” he said. “Now that I have the ability to do that, I’m going to take full advantage of it.
“It’s just like with my career . . . I’ve done a little bit more every year. I’ve gotten a new contract. I’ve played more positions. I’ve gained more visibility in the community. I’m going to use it as best as I can to help the most people I can. If you could do that, why wouldn’t you want to?”
With so many people in need of help, Alexander figured Ride to Provide would combine his desire to lend a hand with his commitment to remaining in football shape throughout the offseason — which apparently could last an unusually long time.
At this time of year, Alexander usually works with his teammates and Redskins staff in the offseason conditioning program at the team’s Ashburn complex, “but obviously not this year,” Alexander said.
Although many players, including Alexander, have continued to train individually, the lockout could hurt the Redskins “because the thing that we really miss out on is being around the other guys and bonding,” he said. “Normally, you’d have at least 50, 60 guys [at Redskins Park] hanging out, working together and coming together. It just helps you start building that trust you need for the season.”
On Wednesday, a federal judge heard the players’ request to lift the owner-imposed lockout. The judge said she would make her ruling in a “couple of weeks,” and she urged the sides to resume negotiations in the interim.
“No matter who wins, the other side is going to appeal,” said Alexander, who earned a bachelor’s degree in legal studies from the University of California. “So everything could drag out a lot longer.”
Until players are permitted to return to work, Alexander has his family and charity work to keep him busy.
The first Ride to Provide exceeded Alexander’s expectations, “and we’re confident the second time around will be a lot better,” he said.
“We really want to at least double [the number of riders] because you never want to stay the same. Last year around this time, no one had signed up. This year, we already have 50, 60 riders. It’s about fellowship and helping people, so the more the better.”