Here I sit, exhausted. I want to write something eloquent, with all the pop and excitement of a great run, but it’s not there. Not now. Not today. Maybe if I hadn’t eaten so much, or my night not been so long, had I not changed into my pajamas – as a writer it comes and goes and you never know quite why. It’s better you don’t.
Shaun Alexander didn’t see the end before him. Didn’t know he couldn’t cut it. Couldn’t cut. Would be cut. Wasn’t great anymore or even good enough. The greatest back in Seahawks history, the superstar for every great year of my Seahawks fandom, Mr. 27, Mr. MVP, Mr. Madden, couldn’t see what a wise ass know nothing know it all could describe in excruciating detail week by week, play by play. It’s better he didn’t.
And as I sit here, trying to make sense, make that draft day 8 years ago into some seminal event, when I hardly knew it happened, scour for quotes, erect some mental timeline, figure the words I think and feel that explain something that I don’t know, I feel like I’m fumbling, failing, falling without trying.
Shaun Alexander was the greatest running back in Seahawks history: 9,429 yards, 100 rushing touchdowns. Numbers do not do every great player justice, but Alexander knew his, and prided himself in them. He was a great among greats. A ringer in the pros. Good enough to be the best at something a ludicrously small number of people could even attempt.
His play didn’t always win praise. Alexander didn’t fight through piles, wasn’t hard or tough or mean. Never blew anyone up. His running style was tactful, delicate. He picked through piles, ran effortlessly, with grace. Some fans chaffed, thought he didn’t want it, didn’t need it, wouldn’t fight for it. Whatever that “it” they needed and couldn’t find in their lives. But Alexander succeeded. He was great for a time. A great receiver in his youth. A great rusher in his prime. Everything Mike Holmgren ever wanted in a back.
So it’s over. No more reason to cuss and never again a chance to cheer. Your replacement already hired a month back. Your career, the meaningful part of your career, over. Your firing announced by some dude who calls himself “Softy”. And the jackass little blogger, who ragged you all season long, writing your denouement, with a little tingle in his brow, kinda absurd, isn’t it? I’ll miss you Shaun Alexander, your falls, your triumphs, your stupid shit-eating grin. You brought me more happiness than most anyone I know.