The emotion took over when he received the news. The Redskins had to drop their offer in guaranteed money on Monday and that’s when Lorenzo Alexander knew his time in Washington had ended. So he walked outside the hotel in the Bahamas, where he’s attending the NFL Players’ Association conference.
And he cried.
“I still get emotional when I talk about it,” said Alexander, who signed a three-year, $9.5 million deal with $3 million guaranteed with Arizona on Wednesday. “Being in a place for seven years and then not being able to stay after doing everything the right way, it’s probably one of the hardest things.”
Know this: Alexander isn’t bitter. He’s not angry at the Redskins. He praised the front office and coach Mike Shanahan. There’s also a discrepancy between his side and the Redskins when it comes to the numbers. Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said the Redskins did not drop their offer from $2.6 million guaranteed to $1.4 million guaranteed. The overall package was for three years and $7.5 million.
Over the weekend, Alexander expressed optimism about a deal, texting that progress had been made. But, he said, that progress ended Monday and he blamed the salary cap issues.
“I love everybody over there,” Alexander said. “It’s not like there’s burnt bridges. But once the guaranteed money dropped so much it didn’t make sense for me to do it financially. If it was 2.6, I’d be a Redskin.”
Alexander, who went from a practice squad player in 2006 to a Pro Bowl special teamer in 2012 while with Washington, chose the Cardinals over Pittsburgh. Arizona offered him more incentives if he becomes a starter, which is a likely occurrence at inside linebacker.
“They want me to start,” he said. “They’ll use me a lot on third downs as well. I’ll be more like a linebacker that helps out on special teams.
“It allows me to grow as a player. Obviously I’ve started in this league but I never was The Guy and when I was starting I still played every special teams so I never had the ability to showcase what I could do being fresh. It will give me a chance to show people I can take my game to another level.”
Alexander grew up in the Bay Area in California so this move puts him closer to home. But that wasn’t really a consideration. He’ll be keeping his home in Ashburn.
“Home is in Washington at this point in my life. I grew up in the Bay Area but I’m not going back there,” he said. “I wanted to stay as much as anybody else, but it didn’t make sense for us to do that. D.C. is my home. Who knows what it holds in the future. But D.C. is home and that’s where I’ll come back when I’m done playing.”
What he won’t do is second guess his decision.
“I’m happy with my decision and I’ll never say Shoulda, woulda, cuolda,” Alexander said. “I wish things were different from the cap situation. It’s not too often you’re able to play your entire career in one city but that’s not what God had planned for me. I’ll give what I gave in D.C. I can’t wait. It’s exciting. Nervous. All that wrapped up in one. You’re out of your comfort zone. All that plays a huge role as far as how I feel about it. But I’m at peace with it.”