ST. LOUIS (AP) — Working as a janitor at the Edward Jones Dome after St. Louis Rams games, his college career on hold, Maurice Alexander kept hope alive.
“I always stood at the end of that field and I just looked at it,” Alexander said Saturday after the Rams drafted him in the fourth round. “This could be my dream spot. Look where I’m at now.”
More than most, the Utah State safety will savor trotting onto the field for the first time in uniform instead of holding a broom after everyone’s gone home.
“Oh man, it was some work,” said Alexander, who went to high school in nearby Eureka, Missouri. “I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot of cleaning up to do in that stadium.”
Alexander got kicked off the Utah State team for one season and was sentenced to a year in jail after punching a teammate, running back Joey DiMartino, in the face after a party. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated assault resulting in body injury and all but 45 days of the sentence was suspended.
DeMartino needed surgery for broken bones in his left eye socket and a fractured cheekbone. The incident was reported to police a month after the fight.
Alexander said the two remain “great friends.”
“It was a mistake,” Alexander said. “It made me a better man today. Utah State believed in me, they brought me back. I’m a great guy, I’m a great friend, I’m a great person to be around and I’m good in the locker room.”
Repeatedly, Alexander thanked everyone that helped make his career rebound possible.
“That year off, it taught me a lot,” he said. “I know it could be over quick.”
The Rams brought the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Alexander in for a workout a few weeks ago. Coach Jeff Fisher anticipates Alexander could provide immediate help in a depleted secondary and on special teams.
“Obviously, we’re going to do our research to follow up and make sure all stories are correlating and on the same page, and they were,” general manager Les Snead said. “This is a good dude.”
Alexander was reinstated by the school last year and started 13 games, finishing with 80 tackles, six pass breakups, an interception and 3 1-2 sacks. He began his college career as a linebacker.
“That’s adversity that you’ve got to have some grit to get through,” Snead said. “I think he’s really, really jacked to be a Ram.”
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