Catching up with .... Rich Alexis

It took courage for Rich Alexis, the son of Haitian immigrants, to leave his family and wander cross-country in search of the American Football Dream. How appropriate it must seem that four years later, the 6-0, 220-pound running back who left his home in Coral Springs, Florida to attend school in Seattle, Washington, is once again heading back to where it all began to renew his search for success and a future in professional football.

"I'm in Jacksonville and we're going through our off-season conditioning, running and lifting and getting familiar with the system," Alexis told recently. "I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things, do what I can do to make the ballclub, do the best I can.

"Everything's going well. It's 95 degrees out there, so I need to get used to being back in this heat."

So Rich is missing the relative cool of the Northwest? "Seattle was fun, but I'm not missing it right now," he said with a chuckle.

So what were the circumstance that brought Alexis to the Jacksonville Jaguars? "It was just a situation where after the draft was over the phone started ringing," he said. "It was just a matter of looking for that perfect fit, that place where you'll get an opportunity to showcase your talents and get a chance to really play. So Jacksonville was a great fit. I talked to their running backs coach during the combine and he came out to Seattle to watch me play.

"It's a situation where the running back group wasn't that good this year - only twelve got drafted - so I got a chance to pick a team that I wanted to go to. It was a perfect fit."

Apparently the Jaguars' front office saw something in the Huskies they liked, as they chose Reggie Williams with their first-round pick, the ninth pick overall of the 2004 NFL Draft. Williams and Alexis are now sharing a room as they both tend to their new jobs as professional football players.

"I was still dealing with the draft and was disappointed about that, but then it hit me and I was like, 'I'm back with my boy again!'," Rich said when asked about teaming up with Reggie. "So initially I was just looking out for me after the draft, but Jacksonville came up with a great offer and I had to take that. After that, it kind of sunk in that I would be back with my boy Reggie. I was happy, real happy about that.

"It's been like college all over again, kinda."

Kinda? "It's a lot different. The tempo is much faster. Everything is a lot more business-like up here. You've got to be very professional in everything you do."

Except for when it comes for the veterans to put the rookies in line. "He's still got his eyebrows," Alexis said of Reggie, laughing. "They haven't taken him through that initial hazing phase yet. You know Reggie, he can run his mouth a little bit, but as long as he backs it up like he did in college, he'll be alright."

Williams likely won't get a break from here on out, even at the dinner table. "Reggie's got to pick up the tip," Rich said. "I don't have those millions of dollars yet. I'm still working my way up the ladder. Reggie gets to pick up the tab when we go out.

"I'm just trying to get off to a good start in life, make the squad. If I don't, I'll go back and finish up with school. Right now my goals are to make the team and do the best I can."

Even though Alexis is back home, he will still be checking the Dawgs out on TV and in the papers. "I'm going to follow them," he said. "I've got a couple little friends back there I want to see do well - E.T. (Charles Frederick), Kenny James...guys I've had fun with back there like Zach Tuiasosopo. I want to see them do well. I've still got love for the Huskies, so I wish them all the best of luck."

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