Around the NFL  

 

Kwon Alexander stars for Bucs after death of brother

Print

Kwon Alexander was an unstoppable force for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, compiling a whopping 11 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in the 23-20 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Alexander, a rookie, played the game despite losing his 17-year-old brother, Broderick Taylor II, who was shot to death during a fight in their hometown of Anniston, Ala.

"It's been hard, man," Alexander said, via ESPN.com. "He was my little brother, but I know he'd want me to be strong for him, and I came out here and dedicated this game to him. (I was) very determined because (he) wanted me to do it. All he wanted me to do is ball, so dedicated it to him."

The linebacker played less than 48-hours after losing his little brother. It was a decision coach Lovie Smith said was Alexander's.

"I left it up to him," Smith explained. "I can't imagine losing your 17-year-old brother when you're fairly young, too. Again, football is a haven for you sometimes. It's a place to go ... his teammates were there for him, being supportive."

For all that we complain about players and the brutishness of football, a moment like the Bucs had in the locker room after the game, when they presented Alexander with the game ball, reminds us of the camaraderie and togetherness that can be built in the ultimate team sport.

"To play under those circumstances, my hat's off, and to play the way you did, two turnovers. I got a lot of respect for what you did today," Logan Mankins said of Alexander, in an emotional video.

Fellow rookie Jameis Winston said the team dedicated the game to Alexander and his family.

"Amazing, man. We did it for Kwon," Winston said. "When a brother goes down, we are our brother's keeper ... we have to be our brother's keeper."

Not only did Alexander play, he was at his best and a key reason his team won Sunday. 

"Just losing my brother, and them being there, my brothers, I appreciate them," Alexander said of his teammates. "It means so much to me that they're there for me."

Print