Shaun Alexander had an interesting career with Seattle. His physical decline is well documented, but he was quite the character as well. I always found Shaun to be a strange mix of humility and hubris, a religious man with an apparent good heart but also more than willing to talk some strange self-centered mess. The latter portion of that last thought is relevant again, as Tom Tolbert (yes, that Tom Tolbert) interviewd Shaun on the radio. Danny O'Neil has the recap.
"Sometimes, unfortunately, I was only compared to myself, you know what I mean?" Alexander said. "So it's like, 'Oh, you're not doing the same thing, we're getting rid of you.' So it's like, 'OK, who are you going to bring in to replace [me]?' "
That's pretty fair. It would have been insane to continue to pay Alexander superstar money as his skills declined. Moving on.
So here's what Alexander said next: "I don't even think they had combined the yards I had with a broken hand, a buckled knee, you know?"
Here's reality: In Alexander's final season in Seattle, he played 13 games, gained 716 yards on 206 carries (3.5) and scored four touchdowns. Last year, Duckett and Jones combined for 870 yards on 220 carries (4.0) and totaled 10 touchdowns.
Not only did Jones and Duckett outproduce Alexander, they did so with an even further depleted offensive line. Also, they did so at a much lower cost.
"I think guys on the team, we all said, that I was blessed with a great, great first six years," Alexander said. "The problem was that there were some things I did really well that almost made it look a little too easy that you kind of miss it. So then, what happens is, instead of playing the last seven games and having 700 yards and 10 touchdowns, I just have 700 yards and four touchdowns, and they're like, 'Oh, something's wrong.' "
Something was wrong. Injury problems combined with decreasing physical skills and a running style predicated on quickness meant that Shaun was no longer dangerous. Shaun Alexander ceased being an effective NFL running back but was still getting the paycheck of an MVP. The decision to cut him was both logical and unsurprising. I loved Shaun Alexander the Seahawk. He was nothing short of remarkable during his prime, and he's still talking some quality nonsense. Never a dull moment with Shaun Alexander.