Monday, July 17, 2006
MVP not sulking over Super Bowl
By Page 2 staff
Page 2 had a chance to sit down with Seahawks running back and NFL MVP Shaun Alexander as he waited to appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" last week.
Seahawks fans will be especially happy to learn that during the interview, Danica Patrick and her husband entered the room. She said, "I'm Danica, and I just wanted to meet you." She then introduced her husband, who is from Fife, Wash., and told Alexander he's a Seahawks fan.
"We're going to make you proud this year," the MVP said.
Q: Seattle rarely gets much love from the national press. Is that finally changing?
Shaun and wife Valerie walked the red carpet at the ESPYS.
Shaun Alexander: We'll see for sure when the season starts. Things really seem to have started to change this offseason -- with [quarterback] Matt [Hasselbeck] getting the Chunky Soup commercial and me getting the Madden cover. We're starting to get a lot of love. It's to the point where people really expect us to be good, and they're recognizing that we have a lot of talented players.
Q: This seems to be the culmination for you after waiting for many years.Alexander: It took us six years. Without bragging, I've been blessed to have five of the greatest statistical years for a running back. It's really been amazing, and people are now starting to realize, "Hey, they score a lot of touchdowns up there. Hey, these guys are pretty good."
Q: Did the lack of attention make you consider leaving Seattle before you re-signed as a free agent this offseason?Alexander: I didn't want to leave. It was an intriguing thing to see how far we'd come and what we'd built, and I didn't want to leave that. When I first got to Seattle, it was like a joke. People were like, "You got drafted WHERE?" It was like a joke. And in those first few years, in our games, [our opponents] would be dancing as they were beating us. And I wasn't used to that. I came from a high school that was nationally ranked, and a college that was nationally ranked. I was used to winning. And I wanted us to be one of those teams that every game, every play, every quarter, people know they're going to have to play their best to play with us.
Q: How hard has it been to get over the Super Bowl loss?Alexander: It's not hard. We've got to decide whether we want to start playing for next year's Super Bowl or not. You can sit and sulk and complain about losing it. Or you can use that as fuel and come back with that chip on your shoulder, and that's what we're going to do.
Q: This is your first ESPYS. How has it been?Alexander: It's been cool. I like to just hang out around all these guys, and they make you laugh. It's great seeing all these entertainers, and getting to know these guys.
Alexander will have a tough time topping '05: 1,880 rushing yards and 28 TDs.
This whole offseason has been kind of a coming-out party for me. It was kind of like, well, Seattle knows and Kentucky knows and Alabama knows, but now the whole country is starting to find out. And they're thinking that maybe these guys are going to be here for a while. It's exciting, and it's really an honor.
Q: So, is it hard to keep up with the offseason training when you're doing all these events?Alexander: Every time I go to another city, I bring my trainers with me. I've taken my trainers with me to several different states.
My trainers look at the schedule and put together quite a plan. I was talking to my trainer the first couple of days I was in Alabama and he said, "Shaun, you've got to get better than ever before because people are gunning for you." I looked at him after my workout, and I was like, "What [time] did I run?" And he gave me the time, and then I asked him what I ran last year. And it turned out that this year's time was better than last year's. He just looked at me and said, "Let's go win a Super Bowl."
Q: You're nominated for three ESPYS; how do you handicap your chances?Alexander: The man of the year one is crazy. I'm not sure how that one will go. Lance [Armstrong] is up for that, and he just won his seventh Tour de France, plus he's hosting the show. I gotta think the host gets seven or eight more votes. Now, the NFL player award, I should have a good shot at that one, and the record-breaker of the year one should be interesting, too."
(Note: Armstrong did win Best Male Athlete, but Alexander took home best record-breaking performance and best NFL player.)Q: So, what else have you been doing this summer besides the ESPYS and Kimmel?Alexander: I did a camp for kids down in Alabama with ex-Seahawks teammate Heath Evans. I went into a high school hall of fame in Kentucky. My jersey from the record-setting TD game was sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I've become part of the EA sports family. Nike's coming out with a new shoe called the Super Bad that I'm going to be the face of. And I'm writing my autobiography. It's crazy that so many things have come together like that. I'd like to say it was all part of some marketing plan I had or something, but I just looked up and, boom, everything was happening.