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Alexander Tells Roster Hopefuls: 'Just Be Persistent'

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With cut-down day looming, undrafted rookies and roster longshots need only look to Lorenzo Alexander for inspiration.

Alexander made it to where they hope to go.

From the bottom of the roster to a potential NFL starter.

As a fresh-faced prospect out of Cal, Alexander spent 2005 and the early part of 2006 with the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens. He was cut three times during that span.

Alexander finally caught on with the Redskins' practice squad later in 2006.

He established himself as the so-called "One Man Gang" in 2007, doing whatever it took to secure a roster spot and earn playing time. That meant playing defensive line, special teams, offensive line, tight end ... anything.

Now Alexander has emerged as a potential starter at outside linebacker.

With the conclusion of Thursday night's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Redskins must reduce their roster to 53 players by Saturday at 6 p.m. The team can name an 8-man practice squad on Sunday.

Alexander knows better than anyone that this week is filled with uncertainty for undrafted rookies and roster longshots.

"It's a long wait [on cut-down day]," he said. "You wonder, did I do enough? Do they like other guys ahead of me? Are there politics involved? All of that stuff is going through your mind. There's a lot of anxiety.

"It's probably the longest 10 hours of your life. Sometimes you don't get called until right before they have to announce the cuts. It was hard for me to sleep. You just worry.

"What I found is that if you did everything you could do and you made it through preseason, then you're good enough to get another opportunity – if not here then with another team. A lot of these guys here will get another opportunity, because they play hard and they're going to be better than the 53rd person on another team."

What advice does Alexander have for those roster hopefuls who don't make the final 53?

"Just be persistent," he said. "I got cut, thought about giving up, and if I had given up I wouldn't be where I am now. So just continue to be persistent, trust in yourself, your abilities and God.

"Eventually it's going to pay off because hard work always pays off. It may not pay off when you want it to, but you learn to appreciate it more. Now I'm in my sixth year and I appreciate being in the NFL. I'm not going to take things for granted."

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