Redskins' Modern Day Alexander “the Great”

Ed SheahinCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2009

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 25: Defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander #79 of the Washington Redskins  watches play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium on November 25, 2007 in Tampa, Florida.  The Bucs won 19-13. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Just as Ancient Greek leader Alexander III of Macedon—commonly known as Alexander the Great—expanded his reign through Asia for the better part of a decade one small battle at a time, Washington Redskins’ defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander has devised a plan to assist under-served youth in a similar fashion.


Alexander’s ACES (Accountability, Community, Education and Sports) Foundation is focused on helping small groups of under-served youth while teaching them the importance of self accountability, pride in their community, striving for excellence in education, and promoting a healthy mind and body through sports. 


To appreciate Alexander’s dedication to serving those in need, one should understand he is not a seasoned veteran funneling funds to his foundation with the assistance of a multi-million dollar contract. 


Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2005 out of the University of California with the Carolina Panthers, Alexander spent his first season of professional football on the team’s practice squad.


After a brief stint (one week) with the Baltimore Ravens in 2006, the Washington Redskins signed Alexander and placed him on their practice squad.


It wasn’t until week four of the 2007 season that Alexander played in his first professional game with the Redskins.


The burly defensive lineman made his first career start in November of 2007 at tight end.  

That is the type of football player and person Alexander is.  He will do whatever it takes to help the team and others to succeed.


He’s played fullback, tight end, defensive line, and goal line offense and defense as well as special teams.


There is nothing he won’t do to continue his career for himself, his family, and for those he strives to assist through his foundation.


When the Redskins signed Pro Bowl defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth as a free agent and drafted defensive end/linebacker Brian Orakpo during the 2009 offseason, Alexander’s reign with the team appeared to be in jeopardy.


Determined to remain a member of the Redskins in 2009, Alexander willingly moved from defensive tackle to end in a preseason game against Pittsburgh and played special teams against New England.


Receiving praise in both games by defensive line coach John Palermo and special teams coach Danny Smith—not just for his play, but for his fortitude—Alexander is doing all the right things to remain with an organization focused on retaining quality football players with multiple skills and character.


In one week, Alexander will know his fate with the Redskins as the NFL deadline for the 53-man roster quickly approaches.


This is a time when many professional athletes would focus on their personal well being—especially as their career hangs in the balance—yet Alexander and his ACES Foundation purge forward.


The day after the Redskins final preseason game at Jacksonville on September 3, 2009—in what could be his final game with the team—the ACES Foundation in conjunction with Target will provide 40 under-served Washington area youth with school supplies and clothes.


This isn’t Alexander and his teammates contributing a check and wishing the kids well.


He and seven teammates will meet the students at an Alexandria, VA Target store and provide each with a $100 gift card.


The players will stick around to shop with the students and conclude their day by eating lunch with them.


“I was inspired to give back to the community with the guidance of Renaldo Wynn,” Alexander proudly stated, acknowledging one of the Redskins senior members. 


He also recognizes former Redskins receiver, James Thrash, who is retired and now working with the NFLPA to assist current players with life outside of football.  “James Thrash has been a tremendous mentor to me and others who want to give back to the community.”


Do not think for a minute Alexander’s perseverance to improve, on and off the field, won’t play a role as the team develops the final roster for the 2009 season this Sunday.