In his seven-year career with the Washington Redskins, Lorenzo Alexander shaped himself into a leader both on and off the field primarily because he adopted an attitude to do whatever it took to help his team win games.
During his time in Washington, Alexander took on many shapes to play several positions – including tight end, offensive line, defensive line and linebacker – before his talents as a special teams ace landed him a spot in the Pro Bowl in 2012.
On Sunday, Alexander will suit up for the first time against his former team. His Cardinals take on the Redskins at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Alexander said it'll be "fun" to play against the Redskins, particularly against the likes of defensive lineman Kedric Golston, with whom he played alongside throughout his entire career in Washington.
"Anytime you line up against your brother, you want to go out there and win and dominate because a lot of these guys I spent a lot of time with in the offseason and training with," Alexander told the D.C.-area media Thursday during a conference call. "You definitely want to have bragging rights. So, it's definitely going to be a fun experience for me so I'm looking forward to it."
Alexander hasn't missed a beat with the Cardinals, despite missing most of the 2013 season with a foot injury. He's been named special teams captain both years in Arizona, a position he accepted with pride while playing for the Redskins.
His head coach, Bruce Arians, said Alexander has been as advertised as a team leader.
"He's not afraid to speak his peace and get everybody fired up," Arians said on Wednesday. "He plays great on special teams for us and if needed, we could still use him at inside or outside linebacker."
Alexander said it was difficult at first to move on, but said he's since settled into his role as both a special teams ace and outside linebacker in Arizona.
"Last year obviously it was difficult leaving there after being there so long and transitioning out," he said. "But now being out here with the Cardinals for the last two years and really immersing myself with the community, the organization and getting to know these guys, I feel at home now. So, that feeling has kind of passed and I'm glad it kind of happened this year versus last year as far as us playing each other."
Alexander's former teammates said they're also looking forward to the chance to line up against him during Sunday's game.
Tight end Niles Paul – whose role on special teams was increased with Alexander's departure after the 2012 season – said Alexander was "kind of like a mentor" to him.
"He's kept in touch as much as possible," Paul said. "I know he's busy, and I'm busy, so I'm going to be excited to see him, and this time I get to play against him, because I know I've talked a lot of trash when he was here."
Paul said the Redskins are certainly missing a guy like Alexander in their lineup, but are doing their best to move on without him.
"When you lose a special teams guy like that, obviously you miss him," Paul said. "All we can do is try our best to continue to replace him."
Alexander said the key to solid special teams play often comes down to just one or two players executing their jobs on any given play.
"It's one or two guys out of place and that's all it ever takes for anybody to have a big return on any special teams unit," he said. "Or one guy – if you get a blocked punt, it's never scheme, it's just one guy with bad technique. We've had our own issues here as well."
As for his future in the league, Alexander admitted he knows his time is running short.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "Being 10 years in the game, I can definitely tell it, but I'm having fun being 3-1, really enjoying it and just appreciating everything I have, especially sitting out last year."
Alexander on Thursday didn't rule out a return to D.C. – but in a different role.
"I know I'm coming up to the end of my career so hopefully maybe I'll be working with some of you guys here soon," he said.
Commanders-Cowboys Stats & Snaps
A list of stats and notes from the Washington Commanders' 38-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, presented by BDO by the Numbers, as compiled by Washington Commanders Public Relations.
Instant analysis | Commanders' season ends with 38-10 loss to Cowboys
The Commanders now have the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft after ending the season with a 4-13 record.
Washington Commanders vs. Cowboys Inactives | Week 18
The Washington Commanders have declared the following players as inactive for the Week 18 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
Five takeaways from Washington's Week 17 loss to the 49ers
The Washington Commanders ended 2023 with a home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Here are five takeaways from the 27-10 defeat, presented by Maryland Lottery.
Commanders-49ers Stats & Snaps
A list of stats and notes from the Washington Commanders' 27-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, presented by BDO by the Numbers, as compiled by Washington Commanders Public Relations.
Instant analysis | Howell throws two INTs in 27-10 loss to 49ers
The Commanders dropped their seventh consecutive loss -- their longest streak since 2013.
Washington Commanders vs. 49ers Inactives | Week 17
The Washington Commanders have declared the following players as inactive for the Week 17 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
Commanders-Jets Stats & Snaps
A list of stats and notes from the Washington Commanders' 30-28 loss to the New York Jets, presented by BDO by the Numbers, as compiled by Washington Commanders Public Relations.
Instant analysis | Commanders struggle in first half, drop sixth straight with 30-28 loss to Jets
All in all, it was an ugly day for the Commanders in a 30-28 defeat, despite Jacoby Brissett relieving Howell in the second half and scoring on three of his five drives.
Washington Commanders vs. Jets Inactives | Week 16
The Washington Commanders have declared the following players as inactive for the Week 16 matchup against the New York Jets.
Commanders vs. Jets, Week 16 | How to watch, listen and live stream
The Washington Commanders will take on the New York Jets at 1 p.m. Here's everything you need to know about how to watch, listen and live stream the game.