Shaun Alexander: 37 Again
As of yesterday, Shaun Alexander was No. 35 and Reed Doughty was No. 37.
As of this moment, Alexander is on the practice field wearing No. 35, but shortly Reed Doughty will be No. 23, and Shaun Alexander will, once again, be No. 37.
I asked Alexander how much Doughty's number had cost him. "Something," he said with a smile. "We're close, you know what I mean? Reed's got a good heart, man."
In other words, Doughty didn't ask for nearly enough. And let's hope that the curse of the Redskins running back buying a number from a Redskins DB doesn't rear its ugly head. In any case, I asked Alexander why anyone would so badly want the number 37.
"I was 37 since high school," Alexander said. "My running backs coach said to me, 'You want to pick a number that when everybody sees it, they'll think Shaun Alexander.
"So I was like, 'What number can I be?' They said either 37 or 9. My running backs coach said 9, I was like 'No, 37.' He was like, 'That number looks horrible,' and I was like, 'I know, but now it's gonna push me to try to make it look sweet. So that when people see it, they'll be like, Oh, that number's not that bad.' "
Shaun Alexander: on a lifelong mission to turn 37 into a number that's "not that bad."
As for new punter Ryan Plackemeier, he was No. 81 at Wake Forest, for reasons unclear, and when he arrived at Seattle he was handed No. 1, even though he hadn't asked for it.
"I guess they gave it to me here," he said, standing in front of his locker today. "They really didn't ask me, they just gave it to me. It's a number. You can't think too much about it, I guess."
In other new arrival news, Clinton Portis--between speaking highly of his new backmate--said that Alexander and Priest Holmes "tried to big-time" him throughout his first Pro Bowl.
"They charged some stuff to my room," Portis said. "I'm getting my money back, interest after all this time. I think he owes me about $15,000. I mean, it was just something vets will do to a rookie. They got me getting ready. You know, I'm really practicing hard there at the Pro Bowl, I don't know better, I'm scared to go out there. I come to practice, everybody's sitting down, no tape, people looking at me.
"I'm running hard, trying to impress the coaches, not knowing I'm the third back and I'm gonna be in there with the clean up duty when the game's really serious. You know, they come out first and second quarters and people not hitting, and all of the sudden you buckle down in the third and fourth and I'm in the backfield. They set me up. Hopefully this year I can set somebody else up."
Finally, Shawn Springs says that for as long as he's in the league, Shaun Alexander will be known as "Little Shaun." Or possibly "Lil' Shaun."
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