By Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — Shaun Alexander was an amazing running back for the Seattle Seahawks. What most NFL fans don’t remember is that he actually finished his career 3,000 miles from the Pacific Northwest, struggling mightily for the Washington Redskins.

In four games in 2008, he had just 11 attempts, piling up just 24 yards, with a long of eight yards. His 2.2 yards-per-carry average was roughly half of his career 4.3 yards average. He was done, and the Redskins unceremoniously released him on Nov. 25, 2008, almost exactly nine years ago.

A reasonable fan might have expected that Alexander slunk back to the Seattle area, or went back to live out his glory days in Alabama or his native Kentucky.

But a reasonable fan would be wrong. In fact, Alexander never left, instead buying a farm in rural Loudoun County. There, he raises and helps homeschool his eight children, and recently partnered with Play to Win Inc. to help manage a Purcellville baseball field and community center.

Suffice it to say that Alexander’s perspective has changed a lot from his playing days. It’s been a long time since tens of thousands of rabid fans chanted his name. Now, he’s impressed by the little things.

“I am amazed by the history of Fireman’s Field and Bush Tabernacle – it is the coolest thing in the world,” Alexander told the Loudoun Times-Mirror. Keep in mind that Alexander has traveled to every NFL and SEC city, played in Pro Bowls and continues to give motivational speeches across the country. But this 13-acre amateur athletics complex in Purcellville takes the cake.

Go figure.

Keep in mind that a Purcellville Councilman Ryan Cool (who should be an authority on what is “cool”), referred to the same complex as “not in good shape…really a mess.” But Alexander was not deterred.

“I love the feel of this place,” he said. “We have a chance to make a great impact and stir a child’s soul to be something they couldn’t even imagine.”

As for why the man, who left Alabama with 15 school records and the Redskins with a number of NFL rushing records, would want to settle down in Purcellville, that’s easy. It feels like home.

“I grew up in a small community in Kentucky and wanted my children to have the same experience,” Alexander told the Times-Mirror. “With so many young families in this area I feel like this is something special and I am excited to be part of [it].”

 

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