What will you remember most about Alfred Morris? Will it be his surprise 2012 season that saw him break free from sixth-round status and run for a Redskins single-season record of 1,613 yards? Will it be his unique, humbled way of getting to Redskins Park every day – either in his 1991 Mazda or bicycle? Or will it be his warm generosity and outreach in the community?
It will likely be some combination of the three, which I've just arbitrarily categorized and probably doesn't do justice to the many other memories he's implanted in Washington's fans.
But his decision to sign with Dallas on Tuesday has certainly triggered this kind of emotional farewell, and not just because the Cowboys are a division rival. He connected with fans, coaches and teammates, always willing to put a smile on his face even when it was hard.
He didn't hesitate to talk about his difficult upbringing to elementary students in similar situations. He often described the times when his parents couldn't afford his family a Christmas or the multiple times he was overlooked as a football player in school.
"It's such a pivotal point for them," Morris said back in November at Roosevelt High School. "Coming and just talking to them and giving them some advice, I hope one of them will grab and use it moving forward in their life."
Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan sent out a message on Instagram thanking Morris for his time and dedication to the team and the community events the two of them paired up on.
"Shoutout to my guy@thoroughbred_fred. An all-time favorite teammate/person of mine. Always extremely supportive of mine and others' charitable endeavors and just an all around great guy… Best of luck 14 out of 16 games next season!"
Teammate Chris Baker sent out a similar message.
Addressing the media on Tuesday in Boca Raton, Fla., general manager Scot McCloughan wished Morris the best of luck in his new journey, but, like his players, cautioned against him succeeding against the Redskins.
"You know what? Good for him," McCloughan said. "He's got a home. I wish it was outside the division. But that's OK, we made a decision in-house and it is what it is. He's a good football player. He's a very good person. He's had a good career. But the way the NFL works is you're always trying to get better. You're always trying to bring in younger – and that's part of the process. You know what? I hope he does a good, nice job except [against] us twice a year."
Back in that classroom at Roosevelt High School, Morris also spoke to kids about creating goals in their lives but not being so rigid that they wouldn't be able to change them.
It seemed like he was giving himself advice for this day.
"Have a plan," Morris told everyone. "If it gets altered, that's OK. That's life."