Danario Alexander has been an enigma of sorts during his three-year NFL career to date. Clearly 2012 with the San Diego Chargers was his most impressive season as he walked off of the streets into a foreign locker room, gained the trust of a veteran quarterback in Philip Rivers, and simply set the league on fire with his play for 10 games. He set career-highs in every statistical category with 37 receptions, 658 yards, and seven touchdowns. His average of 17.8 yards per catch was also a career mark. Still the question remains, what can Bolts fans expect from this guy in 2013?
Let’s not forget that coming into the league, Alexander was obviously a physical specimen at 6’5” 217lbs. out of the University of Missouri. He was productive from the day he set foot on campus in Columbia amongst the likes of Jeremy Maclin, Martin Rucker, and Chase Coffman as a freshman. Unfortunately the main issue has always been health with this imposing target who has had knee troubles since his college days.
The medical history on DX is not for the squeamish. His left knee has undergone five surgeries with the fourth coming following the Senior Bowl in his preparation for the 2010 NFL Draft and the fifth early in his rookie season with the St. Louis Rams. The problems pushed what was a receiver with easily second or third round talent into an undrafted free agent. His chronic issues led to the Rams letting him go ultimately following training camp this past August and the rest as they say is history.
For Alexander, there is a constant reminder that remains of those painful days in rehab and all of the knee issues that plagued his past. A black metal knee brace that he wears out on the field is a symbol of all that has troubled him in the past. Reports from team doctors in St. Louis said that his knee is permanently damaged and will never be as stable as it once was. He will always have to deal with occasional swelling, but now he has learned how to manage those issues and keep himself on the field.
As a restricted free agent, the Chargers are likely to place a first round tender on DX which will pay him $2.879 million for the 2013 season. This will act not only as an insurance policy for the team in case the unforeseen should happen again, but also to ensure that his 10 games in 2012 weren’t a fluke. Given the team’s turmoil at wide receiver and likely turnover this offseason with roster cuts, he will probably be at least the number two option coming into training camp. With a healthy Vincent Brown on his opposite this year, the sky is the limit for this Chargers offense which expects to be much improved from last year’s version.