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Rick Snider: Redskins' Morris has no use for a nickname

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Rick Snider

The name is Alfred Morris.

Not Al, Alf, Fred, Chicken Alfredo, Fredinator or even Bruce Wayne or A-Train. Well, those are actually his nicknames used by family and friends of the Washington Redskins running back. And he goes by them all.

"I didn't like my name when I was younger, but I grew into it," Morris said. "It wasn't a fun name when I was younger."

Well, it beats "Brazil" -- which is what his mother wanted to use. Instead, Morris is named for his father's grandfather.

Morris was entangled with Batman references, too. Classmates called him "Alfred the butler" for Batman's servant. He tried switching to his middle name, Bruce. But that became Bruce Wayne -- Batman's alter ego.

It gets no easier around Redskins Park. Given Aldrick Robinson is called Al and Fred Davis gets the latter half of Morris' first name, the running back sometimes get the hybrid nickname used by Robert Griffin III and coach Mike Shanahan.

"I get the in between Alf," Morris said.

Then there's that little alien TV character Alf, a talking hairy anteater of sorts who caused lots of comic mischief in the late 1980s. Morris recalls wearing a T-shirt of the extraterrestrial that surely some relative saw as a funny coincidence. He vaguely remembers the show.

Maybe Morris' play will revive Alfred as a popular name that peaked in the ninth century thanks to British monarch Alfred the Great. After a brief revival in 1880, it slipped out of the top 700 names by 2007. There are 21 variants of Alfred, which in Old English means elf or wise counsel.

The rookie has become a fan favorite, complete with a touchdown salute created after talking with a youth baseball team. Morris stands at attention in the end zone with a snappy salute to the crowd.

"I did it the first time and I said, 'I like this,'?" he said.

It hasn't caught on ... yet. But Morris is this team's surprise, a sixth-rounder who opened the season over incumbents Evan Royster and Roy Helu. Morris has rushed for 263 yards and three touchdowns on 61 carries in the first three games. He scored twice in the opener at New Orleans and again vs. Cincinnati at FedEx Field on Sept. 23. You'd think Redskins fans would return the salute after Morris scores.

"I haven't seen others do it back," he said. "I wouldn't doubt it. Maybe next time I'll look back."

Morris still largely goes unnoticed aside from occasionally being spotted at the grocery store. No one noticed him when accompanying quarterback Kirk Cousins to see the monuments around the National Mall last spring. Seems the Lincoln Memorial was the perfect cover to feel anonymous that day.

Pretty soon, that won't work anymore. Just remember, the name is Alfred -- not Alf, Al, Fred or others.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

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