'Al Fred' Morris is Redskins' 2nd banana to RG3
RICHMOND, Va. (AP)
Alfred Morris is best known for 1,613 yards and a 22-year-old car.
In another time and place, he would be the undisputed rising star on his team. He set the franchise rushing record last season - as a rookie sixth-round draft pick from a school whose highlights you've probably never watched. Only Adrian Peterson ran for more yards in the NFL.
''Robert gets all the attention - I love it,'' Morris said. ''It's kind of hilarious. I can be in the middle of signing (autographs) and they go, `Oh, there's Robert!' and take off running. And I'm like, `Oh, you're welcome!' `OK, bye!' I don't mind it at all. I'm enjoying it.''
No sign of jealously. None of the trappings of stardom. Morris insists he hasn't splurged on anything special during his transition from roster hopeful out of Florida Atlantic to breakout NFL player.
''Eventually when it comes time, I might get a TV or something like that,'' he said. ''But I need a house for that type of stuff. I'm renting right now. I'm trying to keep it as little as possible, so when I have to move it's not, like, overwhelming.''
But he could be a marketer's dream. For instance, he often pronounces his first name as if it were two words - ''Al Fred'' - because that's how his mother says it. Imagine if that caught on.
Then there's his beloved ''Bentley,'' his nickname for the 1991 Mazda that he proudly drives - whenever it's actually running. Grateful for the publicity the car has received, Mazda is helping Morris out.
''She's getting refurb,'' Morris said. ''Mazda's going to pretty much make her like new, like she came off the floor in `91.''
Morris said it will take six to eight weeks for the makeover and beamed: ''I'm going to get my baby back on the road, so I'm excited about that.''
''It's not like `Pimp My Ride' or anything like that,'' Morris said. ''I'm not into that type of stuff anyways. It's kind of - just had a crack on my dash, so fixing things like that. Make sure the engine is in tip-top condition. Maybe if the transmission is not so good, rebuilding the transmission. Just making sure that it can run 20 more years so that I don't have to worry about it: `Oh, man, I don't know if I want to put it on the road. It might break down and I'll be stranded.'''
''They might update it a bit, like maybe put in a navigation system or something in it,'' he said. ''But nothing like big rims and fish tanks in the back, nothing like that.''
Morris gave the Bentley update last week on the opening day of training camp. It's a great story, but naturally it was swallowed whole, news-wise, by the practice debut of Griffin in the quarterback's return from knee surgery.
Once again, that was fine with Morris.
''He puts a different spin on the superstar role,'' guard Kory Lichtensteiger said. ''He's an extremely humble guy. And I think that just adds to the likeability even more. He's happy playing the back-seat role and just eating up yards while he's at it.''
Morris takes the humbleness as far as he can, even saying he doesn't consider himself the starting running back. Contrast that with coach Mike Shanahan, who says Morris is already ''an elite running back.''
There is room for improvement. Morris wants the coaches to have enough confidence in him to leave him in the game on passing downs - he had only 11 receptions last year - and, like Griffin, he needs to learn to avoid the extra hits when the yards don't mean much.
''It's kind of hard for me to say, `I don't want to fight for that extra yard,''' he said. ''Adjusting to that is going to be a little tough.''
NOTES: CB DeAngelo Hall wore a walking boot on his right foot during the morning walkthrough. Hall was hurt Monday when he slipped while covering a receiver. ... The fashion rage at training camp is the white wide-brim sun hat. Griffin is among a growing number of players who have taken to wearing the floppy headgear during the morning walkthrough. ''It might give some guys some swag,'' S Reed Doughty said. ''It makes me look like I'm prepping for `Gilligan's Island.'''
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