But Alexander was surely every bit as important a piece to the Blue Bombers’ back-to-back Grey Cup titles as any member on the team. So it was significant that Walters was able to sign the 2021 CFL All Star to a two-year deal on Friday morning.
The knee injury Alexander says he played with during the 33-25 overtime win versus Hamilton in the 108th Grey Cup, and the subsequent surgery that might prevent him from starting the 2022 season on time, did not factor in him still being available when the deadline to re-sign players expired earlier this week.
“It was just a matter of when the timing was right. I thought in my heart of hearts that it was always going to be in Winnipeg,” said Alexander during a Friday morning telephone conference call with members of the Winnipeg media. “Obviously with free agency and everything like that, you truly don’t know what’s going on and what’s going to happen until you have those conversations and there’s a final date.”
Alexander says the decision to sign a two year deal was mutual between the club and himself. And he also provided some clarity on the injury that was believed to have occurred during the dramatic final play that clinched the team’s second consecutive championship.
“It could have been the final, it could not have been. It’s just I know there was something wrong throughout that game,” Alexander shared with reporters. “I expressed it to the guys and everything, and you know they asked me if I wanted to come out or not. Obviously I said no. I might have made it worse, but it’s all good. It’s what it comes with. This is what we signed up for.”
But there is no grey area when it comes to the impact that the former Central Florida “walk-on” has had during his four seasons in Blue and Gold since making the Blue Bombers as a free agent back in 2017.
And Alexander opened up on a few reasons why he plays with the passion and purpose that has made him one of the hardest hitting and most relentless players, not only in Winnipeg, but the entire CFL.
“My whole life in sports has been very difficult for me. And this is the first time I’m going to say this, I have a lot of family members that played high level sports – who played in the NFL for awhile, including my father and a couple of cousins of mine,” said Alexander in response to being asked what has developed the makeup that has spurred him on as a walk on in College, and again with the Blue Bombers. “I just felt like I was always the thought after. The person who had to go out and get it. I don’t have a problem with it. I was the guy that was like – I’m gonna win 20 of these sprints, if we run 25 of these sprints I’m going to win those. I found myself on the roster because I wanted to out beat everybody, just to show I can compete with you guys.”
Alexander was Winnipeg’s rookie of the year nominee during that 2017 CFL season and is coming off a career year in 2021 that saw him total 36 defensive tackles and another eight on special teams.
The 28-year-old Orlando, Fla., native also added two interceptions and a forced fumble in the 13 games he started.
The six-foot, 180-pound defensive back has played pretty much every position in the Blue Bomber secondary during his 52 games with the team — with career totals of 162 tackles, six interceptions, one touchdown, and five forced fumbles.
Winnipeg begins defending its back-to-back Grey Cup titles on June 10 when they host the Ottawa RedBlacks in a 7:30 p.m. start at IG Field.
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