Lorenzo Alexander on the remarkable names that he's played with - The Buffalo News

Share this article

print logo

Lorenzo Alexander on the remarkable names that he's played with

People know Forrest Gump was exposed to an inordinate amount of history.

Now get a load of Buffalo Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.

He's not old. He's only 34 and appears to have more years of quality football left in his body. That means he only will add to his long list of remarkable teammates.

Alexander is in his 11th season. He spent two seasons on Carolina's, Baltimore's and Washington's practice squads. He stayed seven seasons on Washington's active roster, two with Arizona and one with Oakland before coming to Buffalo in 2016.

There have been longer journeys, to be sure. But a look back at Alexander's rosters shows he has played with a Pro Bowler at all but two of the 27 different positions, including six special-teams spots. All that's missing is a second guard and a punter.

How impressive is that? You would have to scour 40 years of New England rosters to find more Pro Bowl checkmarks.

From Lorenzo Alexander to the birth of the NFL in five easy steps

Alexander broke in under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, played for Mike Shanahan and with staffs that featured at least nine former or future head coaches. Sean McVay, who became the youngest head coach in NFL history this year with the L.A. Rams, was with Alexander in Washington seven years ago.

Alexander's teams have been nowhere near dynastic. He has appeared in three postseason games and played with 13 starting quarterbacks in his 11 seasons.

Yet he has been surrounded by a crazy number of remarkable names.

Look at the names on Lorenzo Alexander's All-Zomate Team

On Julius Peppers

He was a monster. You grow up thinking you're the man, and to be next to somebody like that? You're, like, 'My God! Can I play in this league? Is everybody made like him?' He was real quiet, but he's right there with Sean Taylor -- I could flip a coin -- as far as skill set. J.P. did some stuff, being 6-6, 300 pounds, that was just ridiculous. Super athletic. I remember one play he stripped Eli Manning, recovered it and took it to the house for a touchdown. He's going to the Hall of Fame.

On Steve Smith

What is Steve, 5-8, 5-9? He's rocked up and can jump out the gym, but he had this attitude of 'These dudes don't respect me!' He's a guy you don't even want to talk to during a game. I'd warn guys, 'Just let him get his two or three catches, but don't piss him off!' You just didn't want to have to deal with this dude! I've seen him go off because once he gets in that zone of 'I'm going to destroy everybody,' it's hard to stop him. Everybody can't play like that. Most guys get taken out of their game when they're out on the edge, but he learned to hone it and make big play after big play and make you almost submit. I've seen him make corners tap out of games.

On Sean Taylor

Sean was probably No. 1 or No. 2 on my list of the most talented guys I've ever been around, and his work ethic matched his talent. He was quiet off the field, a great dude, great locker room presence. But he was fearless. He ran down on kickoffs, played safety, did anything you'd ask of him. He was the ultimate football player.

He was becoming the face of the franchise, one of the best players in the league. He had some troubles, but you could see the changes in his maturity. He was a brother you went to battle with. When he died it hit our team hard. We were actually able to rally around him and eventually make the playoffs. It brought us together.

His death made me take a look at my own life and the legacy I wanted to leave, not only on the field, but in the community, with a family. We were the same age, and he was no longer alive. At that time I was living a different life, wasn't really a Christian, wasn't living right, doing crazy stuff, living the typical athlete's life. It hit me that, 'Man, if I die today, I've made no positive impact on anybody's life besides mine.' I just started working on myself as far as what a man is.

On London Fletcher

He should be in the Hall of Fame. That dude is your ultimate pro and one of the few guys that had the capability of playing the game at a high level and also calling the game defensively. He was very smart, watched a lot of film and processing the game never slowed him down. He was a playmaker and a motivator, very much like Kyle Williams. Off the field, London became a big-brother figure to me. We rode to the games together. He gave me words of wisdom. He was everything I wanted to be aspire to be in my career. He spoke a lot of truth into my life.

The way he worked, he approached it every day with a chip on his shoulder. He had to. He outperformed expectations as far as his skill set, but he put it all together and brought it every week and was blessed with outstanding health. When you can play as violent and as smart as he did, he showed a lot of people.

On Jason Taylor

He was a legend. I grew up watching him play. I knew his accolades. He was one of the few guys in the NFL represented by Jordan. So every so often he'd get about six to eight boxes of Air Jordans and be handing them out in the locker room. He took care of the guys around him. He did a lot of community service with the kids. I remember he was real cool to hang out with.

On Donovan McNabb

It was typical of the Redskins around that time. It seemed like every other year we were bringing in some big-time name and adding them to the pile. Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Albert Haynesworth, Donovan McNabb ... You can name them. We just felt we were a quarterback away in 2010, and when the McNabb trade came through we thought, 'This will take us over the hump.' Him and Shanahan got into it. Shanahan is much like Belichick's mindset. If you get into it with him, it's all down hill. They butted heads a lot behind closed doors, a lot of tension about how things needed to be done.

On Albert Haynesworth

He's probably the best I've played with, talent-wise. To be 330 pounds, can run, do whatever you wanted him to, but not put in the work ... You were jealous of him but also upset. How can you have all that natural ability but just not put in the work? I don't know if he every really loved the game. His actions didn't align with my perceptions of how you should act if you love the game. All he had to do was put in a little work and be a Hall of Famer. He had that type of talent. He could have been dominant. It was almost sad.

on Larry Fitzgerald

Guys like him, the talent level is one thing, but they way they approach the game, the inner drive is what makes them who they are. Everybody at some point must figure that out. You come into the NFL and been good your whole life. Some guys' talent allows them to walk in and be great, but you learn how to work from an older guy. Eventually you see, 'Oh, this is why that guy is so good. He works at it, too.'

Some of his best catches were in practice. The game comes and you say, 'OK, I've seen better, though.' It speaks to how great he is when you look at the quarterbacks he's played with outside Carson Palmer and Kurt Warner and the number of them. Everybody else was average at best. The numbers he's put up, the consistency speaks to his ability to transcend regardless who's throwing him the ball or lining up against him.

On Patrick Peterson

I often compare the mentality of Tre'Davious White to Pat P, real professional and serious about his craft. 'How can I get better?' Going out to work early before practice every day, real meticulous, studied the game, sat down with coordinators or quarterbacks to learn the game from every perspective. Pat had that cerebral approach, and he's off the charts athletically. That combination makes one of the best cornerbacks in the league.

On Charles Woodson

I played with him his last year, and he didn't practice all the time, but on Sundays he would ball out with tackles or a big pick. He was almost a coach, working with the young safeties, helping guys out with just life. I was a Niners fan but I went to more Raiders games. He was a guy I grew up watching on Sundays. It was cool being in the same room as him.

On Sebastian Janikowski

Everybody knows Sea Bass. I mean, there's nothing to tell you, nothing that you can write. Obviously, he loves his vodka, and that's about all I can say. But he can go out there and kick 50-yard field goals.

On Kyle Williams

With him, it's more of a brother-to-brother thing. We bounce ideas off each other. Our kids are really close. Our wives are really close. It's refreshing to get around a guy similar to myself. He was a sixth-rounder, he's grinded, he got paid, a Pro Bowler. He knows the climb. We relate on a lot of different levels, and it's always fun to play with a guy that's going to leave it all out on the field. It's been respect since Day One.

On LeSean McCoy

I was glad he was on my team once I got here because I've played against him when he was in Philly. He would make guys look silly. I've been on the wrong end of that a few times. I love being around him. He's very chippy. He was taken in the second round, but there were guys taken ahead of him, and he plays with that chip. He puts on this prima-donna fa├žade, but he's a worker. He's going to put his nose down, get physical and put in the work. A lot of people assume he just shows up, but he has a lot of pride in what he does.

On Thomas Davis

Me and Thomas came in together as rookies. Over the years we stayed in contact. I got to see his maturation as a man, a husband and a football player over the years. He won the [2014] Walter Payton Man of the Year for all the work he does in the community. He's just a positive guy, the kind of guy I would want my son to emulate.

On Kedric Golston

We played together for six years in Washington. He's really like a brother to me. He's my son Mason's godfather. Our families are intertwined. We both married single mothers with young daughters. Our birthdays are a day apart. Our relationship was built on service. I helped him out one time, and we got real tight. Over the years you just support each other. I'm not in town right now, so he'll check on my house, start my car in the winter. We have a history nobody will ever know about or care about except us. He's family.

There are no comments - be the first to comment