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Samuels and Alexander: The College Years

The last time Shaun Alexander and Chris Samuels were teammates, during the 2000 Orange Bowl.

When Shaun Alexander drove into Redskins Park today, the first two people he saw were Cornelius Griffin and Chris Samuels. It was the first time the three had been teammates since they were senior captains at Alabama.

"I was like, 'This is weird,' " Alexander told me. "And they just laughed and hugged on me and was like, 'Dude, let's go do this.' "

My reaction, of course, was to try to get humorous stories about memorable hijinks from their college years.

"You know what, Shaun really didn't hang out that much," Samuels said. "I mean, I can probably remember maybe four times Shaun actually went out in college. For the most part, Shaun was speaking at churches and stuff. And I believe in the Lord too, but you know, I had a good time out in the streets as well."

"Ask Chris about the time we had to do bear crawls for allegedly shooting water balloons out of our football dorm," Alexander said. "Allegedly."

"I don't want to go into too many details on that one," Samuels said. "We were all launching water balloons off the study hall building roof, and the cops came up there and actually got a hold of us pretty good."

Fine, so how about memorable dressing gaffes instead.

"Oh wow," Alexander said. "All Chris wore was shorts."

"Oh he's lying," Samuels said.

"We were like, 'Chris, can you wear some khakis and a tie and a coat, once?' " Alexander told me. "He wore it once, and he's like, 'I did feel kind of good about this.' "

"He should have shot his barber," Samuels countered. "[His haircuts], they just didn't look good. He should have gone to my barber."

Griffin was sort of a different story. Alexander and Samuels were recruited together, red-shirted together, lived in the football dorm at the same time, played on offense together, and were in Tuscaloosa the same number of years. Griffin transferred in, had recently lost his father, and was more concerned with football. "Kind of an old-school guy," Samuels said, and Griffin agreed.

But Alexander and Samuels spent enough time together that they now own identical paintings of a rushing play from a 1999 win over Florida. More significantly, "I went to Chris's mama's house, you know what that means," Alexander said. "[Samuels] ate like he was from Mobile, and every fish fry was the last one ever."

In fact, Samuels's mother has been asking him where Alexander would wind up, and Samuels has been texting the running back with the same question. Now that the three 'Bama captains are reunited and 'Bama Web sites are celebrating the reunion, they were asked how they've changed.

"Much more mature," Samuels said, "and a little bit more money in the pockets."

And appearance wise?

"Nah, them boys look the same," Alexander said. "I was like, 'Man, y'all got some miracle water down here, y'all look good.' "

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 15, 2008; 5:42 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Posted by: skins fan | October 15, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

As a long-time Bama fan, I'll tell you Alexander got most of those yards running behind Samuels. He always needed a little separation and he came into his own running behind Big Sam.

Posted by: Philip | October 15, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, 1999 seems so long ago... in football years... not sure what point I'm making here... something about how these guys are old... but I am too.

Also, this is one of the only pieces related to Shaun Alexander which does not mention that he is a former NFL MVP. So I wanted to mention it here and address the oversight.

Posted by: Nate in the PDX | October 16, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

As another long-time Tide fan, I had no idea that Shaun would be as good a pro running back as he has become. I thought he was too much of a lumberer. But hey, what do I know?

He needs a good line in front of him, and the Skins have one.

Posted by: Choowee | October 16, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

When you look at the pictures of Shaun in College he looks skinny. Maybe he needs to drop a few pounds.

Posted by: Jeff V | October 16, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Samuels' pockets is straight...

Posted by: hmmmmm | October 16, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Here is the painting they both own.

Posted by: Ryan | October 16, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I was in school at Alabama for the years with Shaun, Cornelius, and Chris.

The Redskins fans will be in for a treat when they get to see Shaun and Chris on the field together.

(I was at that game and have that painting on my wall as well.)

Posted by: Tide Fan Dan | October 16, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I was at Alabama long before these guys, but I enjoyed watching them play. The three together will bring some added excitement to the Redskins.

Posted by: Bamagirl | October 16, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I remember the Orange Bowl game shown in the picture above. While watching a bowl game special a week before the game, the commentator mentioned that Samuels had an injury and might miss the game. He predicted if Chris played Bama would win if not then Michigan would. Well he did not play and due to 2 touchdowns and numerous first downs being called back due to holding penalties by his back up we lost by 1 point in overtime. If the Redskins can tap in the the teamwork those 3 displayed while at Bama they will benefit greatly.

Posted by: BamaBaker | October 17, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

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