Alexander a star on and off the field for Seahawks
June 13, 2008 · Updated 2:30 PM
It seems like every day you pick up the sports section or turn on the TV, another athlete is being indicted on drug charges, beating up his girlfriend or involved in a scandal of some sort.
Thats just the world were living in. More money, more problems I guess you can say.
What you dont read about is the good, and necessary, work a select few professional athletes are doing in their communities. Shaun Alexander is one of them.
The Seattle Seahawk running back was in Federal Way Friday morning for the Fifth Annual Literacy Kick-Off Breakfast at Northwest Church. It was the third time he has served as the events master of ceremonies.
It is just great to be here, the 5-foot-11, 225-pounder told 200-plus people in the audience. I really enjoy giving back and watching young people grow into successful adults.
He was in town doing work for the Shaun Alexander Family Foundation, which was established four years ago to immediately give back to those who have impacted his career. Alexander was actually the first player in the history of the National Football League to establish a foundation of this type before he was even drafted out of the University of Alabama.
He has committed his own personal funds and, with the help of endorsements and speaking engagements like Friday morning, continues that personal support and involvement. Therefore, all private donations are used to directly support the work of the foundation and not any administration.
I just want to keep pushing for our foundation, Alexander said. Its fun to give. You just gotta get used to it.
With his help, the Federal Way Literacy Kick-Off Breakfast raised over $30,000 for the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerces Education Foundation, which promotes learning and literacy for children.
Which is why its so unbelievable to hear and read some Seahawk fans and media members wanting to trade Alexander. I dont get it. The News Tribune and others reported last week that Seattle is willing to take trade offers for its running back. That rumor flooded the phone lines on sports radio talk shows for hours on end.
What more do you want? All hes done on the field in his three years as Seattles starting tailback is run for nearly 4,000 yards and score 50 touchdowns in a pass-first offense, while fumbling only eight times. He even scored three touchdowns in last months Pro Bowl in Hawaii for the best players in the NFL.
Sure, theres drawbacks to Alexanders game. Theres rumors out there that say hes always felt underappreciated in Seattle. Hes wanted to be a bigger part of the offense than Mike Holmgrens philosophy allows. He might dance too much in the backfield and run harder when the Hawks get in the red zone, but hes only 26 years old and still learning how to play the game.
Theres only a handful of running backs in the NFL that have produced more in the last three years Marshall Faulk, Priest Holmes and Ricky Williams, to name a few.
Production on the field aside, his work off the gridiron should make him untouchable in the Seahawks eyes. There wasnt a person who walked out of the Northwest Church auditorium Friday morning who wasnt impressed with Alexanders presence and philanthropy.
God willing, I will be here next year, was all Alexander would say about the rampant trade rumors flying around. I want to continue to do great things in this community.
Great things that dont include being indicted on drug charges or beating up his wife. All while playing the game of football at an All-Pro level. Its a rare combination in professional sports today.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org