Alexander’s brother, Broderick Taylor II, was shot to death during a fight in their hometown in Alabama. Taylor was 17 years old.
“It’s been hard, man,” Alexander said. ‘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, 21, turned in the best performance of his rookie career against the Falcons, leading the team with 11 total tackles. He returned an interception for 15 yards and recovered his first fumble for 20 yards. He would have added an additional, 93-yard interception return to his game sheet, but the play was invalidated after an offsides penalty.
Coach Lovie Smith said he let Alexander decide whether he wanted to play Sunday.
“I left it up to him,” Smith explained. “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.”
Alexander left the field with tears running down his face following the win, and vocalized his gratitude for his teammates’ support.
“Just losing my brother, and them being there, my brothers, I appreciate them,’ Alexander said. “It means so much to me that they’re there for me.”
The Buccaneers lifted their record to 3–4 with the win. They will play the New York Giants in Week 9.
- Erin Flynn