Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander played the game of his life Sunday — just two days after his brother was gunned down in Alabama.
Alexander had the choice to sit game the game out, but instead took to the field and led the Buccaneers with 11 tackles. He even added an interception and fumble recovery in the 23-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, according to ESPN.
After the game was finished, Alexander acknowledged his slain brother Broderick Taylor II, saying, “It’s been hard, man. 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.”
Alexander described his brother as, “a very goofy guy. Tall, goofy. He loved to make people laugh. He was a good person.”
— Alexander the Great (@Showtime17Kwon) November 1, 2015
Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith was supportive of Alexander’s decision, and never pressured him to play the game.
“I left it up to him. 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.” (RELATED: Hero LSU Football Players Fight Floodwaters To Save Woman And Her Son [VIDEO])
Quarterback James Winston also voiced support for Alexander after the game saying, “When you’re doing something for a purpose, family is a strong thing. When something happens to your family and you’re a true man and you go out and represent for your family like that, that just says a lot. Everybody in that locker room has tremendous respect for the man that he is.”
Alexander began the game with a 93-yard interception return that was negated on an offsides penalty — but Alexander was only getting warmed up. On the next possession, he stripped Falcons receiver Julio Jones and returned the ball for a 20-yard gain. In the second quarter he intercepted quarterback Matt Ryan for a 15-yard return. Both of Alexander’s takeaways resulted in points for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (RELATED: J.J. Watt Surprises Kids At Hospital Dressed Up As Batman [VIDEO])