It’s always hard to say goodbye to a family member. That pain increases when the person is an immediate family member. For Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander, that loss occurred two days before a divisional matchup against the Falcons.
We all remember the performance he put up in Atlanta, but we never knew the profound grief Kwon was feeling.
One year later, he still endures that grief, and talked about it earlier this month in an article in the Player’s Tribune. If you haven’t read the article yet, you are missing out.
Here is how he felt, and what he recalled, from moments after receiving the dreaded news from his Mom:
It’s hard to remember exactly what happened in the moments right after that. I know I kept talking to my mom for a minute, but I don’t remember what we said. My mind just kind of went blank. All I know is I told my homey who was driving to take me back to my apartment, and when I got there I didn’t even go upstairs. I walked straight out to the patio, lay down on one of the lounge chairs by the pool, pulled out my phone and started looking at text messages. I found Lil’ Brod’s old messages and started scrolling through them — until I saw one from him that jumped off the screen.
“I love you bro.”
I stared at it for I don’t know how long, and then I put my phone down, looked up at the sky and cried until I couldn’t cry anymore.
It’s hard not to get moved by that passage. We watch these players every week, cheer when they perform, groan when they don’t. There are moments, however, where we all, myself included, forget the human side of the guys.
Imagine losing a sibling, and then having to perform in front of millions, combined live and on television. Could you function? I know I couldn’t, much less put in the game that he did. He was fantastic that day, wasn’t he?
Remember the play when Kwon took the ball away from Julio Jones? Here is a memory he had of the play:
In the first quarter, we were down 3–0 when Julio Jones caught a pass over the middle. I was chasing him down from behind, and I could hear Lil’ Brod’s voice in my head, loud and clear, saying, “Go for the ball. Go get the ball!”
Off the field, however, it was something else. Alexander suffered a loss that nobody should have to. He put his baby brother in the ground. His grief is profound, and he deserves a lot of credit for sharing with everyone.