Shaun Alexander: Where is the former NFL MVP now?
SEATTLE (BVM) – A talented running back coming out of Alabama, Shaun Alexander had a strong NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks that peaked with an MVP award in 2005. But what has one of the best running backs of the early 2000s been up to since his playing career ended?
Alexander’s early life
Alexander was born and raised in Florence, Kentucky. At Boone County High School, the running back was a multi-sport athlete also competing in basketball, baseball and track, and was also a class president.
However, it was the gridiron where Alexander really shined. He became a 1,000-yard rusher as just a sophomore at Boone County, but his game went to elite levels as an upperclassman. In his junior season, Alexander rushed for 2,401 yards and 42 touchdowns. His numbers got even better as a senior, as he ran for an eye-opening 3,166 yards and Kentucky-record 54 touchdowns.
The All-American running back was named Kentucky’s Mr. Football in 1994 and the No. 1 player in his class by ESPN. His elite high school numbers, which included top 10 all-time prep marks of 6,662 career rushing yards and 110 touchdowns, signaled a bright future ahead.
Alexander at Alabama
While Michigan and Notre Dame were also in the mix, Alexander wound up at Alabama, a program that has since had a rich history of producing top running backs. After a redshirt season in 1995, Alexander played in 11 games in 1996. The highlight of the season was a school record 291-yard, four-touchdown performance against rival LSU in which he ran for a 17-yard touchdown on his first carry, and a 73-yard score on his second.
After a down sophomore year, Alexander’s true emergence would begin as a redshirt junior in 1998 as he ran for 1,178 yards and had 17 total touchdowns. Returning for his final year in Tuscaloosa, “Alexander the Great” got even better, leading the Crimson Tide to an SEC championship with 1,383 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. Alexander’s final game at Alabama would be a 35-34 loss in the Orange Bowl to the Tom Brady-led Michigan Wolverines.
2 Decades Ago… Highlights from my last game suiting up with the Crimson Tide.
161 Rushing Yards
3 Touchdowns (Set Bowl Game Record for Rushing Touchdowns)
First of many battles with my friend @TomBrady pic.twitter.com/ldstn2xTtP
— Shaun Alexander (@shaunalexander) January 1, 2020
The standout running back finished his career setting over a dozen program records, one of which included his 3,565 career rushing yards.
Before Mark Ingram, before Trent Richardson, before Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon, before King Henry, before Damien and Najee Harris, there was the OG.@shaunalexander pic.twitter.com/1rqz2jLwmx
— Bryant-Denny Stadium (@BryantDenny_UA) December 22, 2021
Alexander’s NFL career
With the 19th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks selected Alexander.
Memories!!! #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/n9xSKBhZXM
— Shaun Alexander (@shaunalexander) April 30, 2021
With veteran back Ricky Watters also in the Seahawks’ backfield, Alexander ran for just 313 yards in his rookie season. However, a changing of the guard occurred in the Seattle backfield in 2001, as Alexander took over as a starter and showed his true promise with 1,318 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Alexander would rush for over 1,000 yards in each of the following four seasons as the Seahawks began building a contender under head coach Mike Holmgren and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
The Alabama product ran for just over 3,300 yards from 2002-2004, scoring 54 total touchdowns for the emerging Hawks. In 2002, Alexander set an NFL record with five touchdowns in a single half against the Minnesota Vikings.
A little throwback to @Seahawks RB @shaunalexander who scored 56.1 fantasy pts in Week 4, 2002! pic.twitter.com/jvjVbqD3Ur
— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) October 2, 2020
However, it was the 2005 season that Alexander and the Seahawks will always be remembered for.
“Alexander the Great” went on to have his best season yet, running for a franchise-record 1,880 yards while scoring an NFL-record 28 total touchdowns on 370 carries. It was the fifth straight season Alexander scored 15 or more touchdowns which is an NFL record. Alexander’s legs carried the 13-3 Seahawks all the way to Super Bowl XL where they would fall to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Still, the tremendous season for the running back led to league MVP honors as Alexander became the first Seahawk to win the award.
The 2005 season would be the peak of Alexander’s career. After signing an eight-year, $62 million contract going into 2006 – the largest contract ever for a running back at the time – Alexander ran for just 896 yards and seven touchdowns behind a weakening offensive line in his age-29 season. He broke his foot in Week 3 of 2006, and dealt with wrist, ankle and knee ailments as his numbers declined even further in 2007.
After being cut by the Seahawks in April 2008, Alexander latched on with the Washington Redskins early in the regular season where he saw action in just four games, totaling a measly 24 rushing yards. Released in November, it was the end of an impressive nine-year career that saw the two-time All-Pro and three-time Pro-Bowler rack up 10,973 total yards from scrimmage and 112 career touchdowns.
Before BeastMode, there was @shaunalexander in Seattle.
🏈 2005 NFL MVP
🏈 2005 Offensive Player of the Year
🏈 NFL 2000s All-Decade Team pic.twitter.com/Uoa0NOEaz4
— NFL Legacy (@NFLLegacy) September 7, 2020
Alexander’s achievements and earnings
Following his MVP campaign in 2005, Alexander became the cover athlete for EA Sports’ “Madden NFL 2007.” He became the first player to grace the cover of Madden and “NCAA Football,” which he was the cover athlete for in 2001.
Another year, another cover, another opportunity to honor and reflect on the legacy John Madden had on the game. #MaddenDay #34years #Thankful #Greatness #FinishTheGame #EAsports#ItsInTheGame @NFL @EAMaddenNFL pic.twitter.com/bg5pgWM8bF
— Shaun Alexander (@shaunalexander) June 2, 2022
Alexander has received multiple honors from his playing career, one coming in 2016 when he was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame for what he achieved in his time at Boone County High School.
For his incredible stretch with the Seahawks at the start of the 21st century, Alexander was also named to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team.
Across his nine-year NFL career, the running back accumulated over $34 million in earnings. Alexander’s net worth is currently estimated at $15 million.
Alexander’s post-football life
In 2002, Alexander married his wife, Valerie. The couple has gone on to have 12 kids who they homeschool. The family resides near the Washington D.C. area in Great Falls, Virginia.
Since retirement, the Seahawks’ great has become an award-winning author through his books “Touchdown Alexander” and “The Walk.” Meanwhile, he has served as CEO of Shaun Alexander Enterprises Inc.
Through the years, Alexander has been a speaker and brand partner, doing work with companies such as Nike, EA Sports, Delta, Verizon, Powerade, Samsung, American Express, UPS, CarMax and Café Momentum.
Former RB @shaunalexander opens up about his work with @cafemomentum – a program to help steer children away from Juvenile Detention & into the workforce 🙏
Listen now on the @NFL Players Podcast!
• https://t.co/QRcEgfUYd6 pic.twitter.com/tjUXEV5Xsb
— NFL Podcasts (@NFL_Podcasts) April 19, 2022
In addition, Alexander is an ambassador for the Stand Together Foundation and a partnership and chief relationship officer with Rooted Advisors.
Currently, Shaun and Valerie are getting set to launch a family-focused media platform called “Amazing Grace Families.” The goal of the platform set to be launched later this year is to give uplifting content to other families.
Of course, the running back has stayed close to his football roots as well. He has returned to Seattle, Alabama and Boone County over the years.
One-time NFL MVP and Boone County (@BCHS_Rebel_FB) legend Shaun Alexander visited the team and new head coach Bryson Warner today. @BCHS_Rebels1955 pic.twitter.com/NETq17dNBh
— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) March 25, 2019
He has also remained a big fan of the team he starred with in the NFL, recently commenting on the Seahawks’ quarterback situation.
In addition to involvement with the “Finish the Game” podcast, Alexander has had an award named after him, The Shaun Alexander Award, given to the top freshman college football player each season. Winners of the award thus far have been Trevor Lawrence, Kenneth Gainwell, Will Anderson Jr., and most recently, Brock Bowers.
Congratulations @brockbowers17 and @GeorgiaFootball. You are the 2021 Shaun Alexander Freshman Player of the Year.
We have quickly built an amazing family of award-winning athletes who raise their teams to elite levels. #FinishTheGame #CarryTheCoin#FreshmanPlayerOfTheYear #MFC pic.twitter.com/XwxtKGHHsi
— Shaun Alexander (@shaunalexander) January 10, 2022
Alexander remains the Seahawks’ all-time rushing and touchdowns leader, and is still the only Seattle player to win an MVP award. Many have debated whether he should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and that will likely continue for years to come.
The running back believes he could return to football someday in a front-office role, but for now, he is content with his many other endeavors as he continues to give back. As tremendous as Alexander’s Seahawks’ career was, what he has done since his playing days has been equally impressive.