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Former OU standout Alexander writing a new story
Dominique Alexander could have given up. When the Tulsa native was overlooked during the 2016 NFL Draft, no one would have blamed him if he had turned his focus to the next chapter in his life — beyond football.
But that is not the type of stock Alexander comes from. He believed in himself and his talents, and continued to follow his dreams.
Like hundreds of players each season, Alexander entered the process as an undrafted free agent. And the 6-foot, 235-pound linebacker signed with the Cleveland Browns.
While the odds were against him making the team’s 53-man roster, Alexander impressed the Browns enough to stick around.
“It’s really just the mental aspect that God has blessed me with — but also just hard work,” Alexander said about his successful transition to the NFL. “Just going out there and working for what I want and not making any excuses for myself. If I’m not getting the job done, it’s nobody else's fault except mine. I think that’s one thing that’s always been able to push me, because anytime I’m not playing the level that I want to be playing at, I never look at anybody else. I just look at myself and then I just go to correct it.
“It doesn’t matter how much time it takes in my day, I’m always willing to work to be the best player I can be.”
Now into his second season with the Browns, Alexander credits his mother for his hard-working attitude.
“Honestly, my mother, when I was in the ninth grade, she saw the potential in me and she used to always say, ‘You can be real good, but you get complacent. Once you know what you can do, you get complacent,’” said Alexander. “She called me out on that when I was young. She was just like when you get to college, you’re going to get complacent once you start doing good.
“She wasn't doing it to talk down at me, she was just doing it to continue to push me and just call me out because she’s my momma. That just stuck with me and I knew that I’d never get complacent because I never wanted to prove her right.
“Now, I’m here.”
Alexander earned a spot on special teams as a rookie and is now focused on building upon that first season.
“For myself, I just want to be the best player that I can be for this team,” said Alexander. “I have a major role on special teams, and I just want to be the best special teams player that I can be. And whatever they give me on defense — the rotating and packages — I just want to be the best player that I can be for this team and just do my best to help my team win.”
Alexander is expecting an even better season in 2017 thanks to the lessons he learned as a rookie.
“From college to the league as far as the physical aspect, it’s a big jump,” said Alexander. “You’re training against a lot of stronger guys and just the physicality level is much higher than it is in college. Being in the weight room another year, I’m able to handle the physicality aspect a lot better and just knowing what to expect.
“And now I’m ready for that.”
Another adjustment Alexander had to make was getting a handle on how fast the NFL game moves.
“It took some time to really get adjusted to the speed of the game and just the formations and stuff,” said Alexander. “I mean, I was ready for it last year, but now I really know what to expect, and my body and my frame can handle it as well.”
Alexander isn’t going to be content playing only a couple of years in the NFL. The Tulsa native envisions a long pro career.
“The key is just doing what I’m supposed to do, honestly — staying out of trouble
and taking care of my job,” said Alexander.
“You’ve got 11 guys on the field, but at the end of the day you really have one-on-one match ups — and if I win my one-on-ones and make plays from special teams to defense, then I feel like I’ll be in the NFL for a long time.”
(Editor's Note: This story appears in the 2017 OU-Texas Preview issue of Sooner Spectator Magazine. To read more or subscribe, call 405-364-4515)