If this were a Final Jeopardy "answer", would the question be:
A. What was the location of the alleged stab wound at the end of the season?
B. What will Shaun be lounging on this summer while the rest of the Sehawks are in training camp?
C. What have Seahawks fans been jumping down for the past 3 months?
D. What two words could be good news for the Seahawks 2005 Season?
Never being one to shrink from a challenge, I decided to take the bait in the Shout Out section, and post a thread supporting the distinct possibility that Shaun Alexander could still be Seahawks property on when the 2005 season kicks off.
I'm not a stat hound, so I'm not going to prattle on about 1600+ yards, and 20 TDs and almost 5 yards/carry average, or the fact that he's been a very durable back for the past 5 years.
Looking at it from a reality stand-point, there really aren't too many places he can go, anywhere he goes he's going to demand a big salary, and many teams don't want to take a chance on him until they see what he's really made of. Coming back to the Seahawks and having another ProBowl year will convince these teams that he's worth what he's asking.
Looking a little closer and SA vs. FO, you have a classic definition of at loggerheads, mexican stand-off or conundrum.
As possible trade opportunities continue to evaporate, and with other "keepers" like Hutchinson entering their contract years, it's not likely that the FO is going to throw the long term deal as SA that he craves. Not to mention that whatever cap money is left right now is earmarked to fixing the defense or allocated to the draft.
However, Shaun's gotta know that even though there's a tremendous risk of injury, he has to play this coming season, if he hopes to land a big payday at the end of next year. The likelihood of there being a RB glut in the market next season is somewhat less, and if he holds out the entire year, he'll be perceived as even more of a risk and a prima donna.
To use the classic line from Cool Hand Luke, "what we have here is a failure to communicate!" Both sides are going to have to realize that they really need the other, at least for one more year, and eat a little crow.
The front office has extend an olive branch, and soon, before his attitude toward the team is irreversible, and let him know he's a vital and valuable part of the 2005 plans.
Shaun has to realize that he's got to take the same approach to 2005 as he did to 2004, that this is another "contract year" and he's on a 16 game interview with his next employer.
And if he truly wants to improve his opportunities, as well as his skills, he'll hear the criticisms launched by the pundits, and work on his blocking and route running skills, to prove to the other 31 teams that he's a "complete" back, and not just a "sweep left" kind of guy.
If Ruskell can pull a rabbit out of his ass...errr...hat and somehow get Shaun on the field, with his head screwed on right, and determined to prove everyone that he's perfected his game, and worth the big contract and signing bonus, then it could be the classic win-win situation.
And "Alexander's Back" may just be the most unlikely answer to the question:
What carried the Seahawks into Superbowl XL?
OK Monkey, how'd I do?
(And JoshFromKent, did you notice I'm not stealing bandwidth?)