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Johnson's struggles remind Hasselbeck of 2005 MVP Alexander

  • By Dan Hanzus NFL.com
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Shaun Alexander might be the poster boy for the star NFL player who was paid big money, then promptly dropped off the grid.

The former Seahawks running back suffered career whiplash, going from NFL MVP in 2005, to recipient of a fat contract in 2006, to out of football by 2008.

It's a fall from grace that no player wants to be linked to, but Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck evoked Alexander's story Sunday when discussing running back Chris Johnson's struggles.

“I definitely see a lot of similarity in (Johnson and Alexander), in terms of when you’re so successful and produce in such a major way -- with fantasy football and all that stuff -- people are just expecting it to happen,” Hasselbeck said, according to The Tennessean. “There’s a lot that goes into it. It’s hard to be that elite all the time."

Johnson, who signed a four-year, $53.5 million extension during the offseason, is in the midst of easily the worst season of his four-year NFL career. Alexander signed an eight-year, $62 million deal after his MVP campaign, then saw his production plummet because of injuries and general ineffectiveness.

Hasselbeck had a front-row seat for Alexander's steep decline as the starter in Seattle during that time.

"People got on (Alexander) real quick, real easy," he said. "It was a thing where he probably got a little too much credit when things were good and too much blame when things were bad."

We can't imagine Johnson appreciates this comparison too much, but it's hard to argue with Hasselbeck's overall point. Johnson's fate hardly is set in stone, but he's certainly on a troubling -- and familiar -- trajectory.

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