KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Shaun Alexander issued a public apology Monday for questioning coach Mike Holmgren's quarterback sneak call in a big win over Atlanta -- a play that Alexander initially claimed cost him the NFL rushing title.
"I'm human," Alexander said at team headquarters. "Anybody can at one time pop off. I've done it several times. I think in the position I'm in, I need to own up to it."
Alexander created a stir after Seattle won the NFC West title by beating Atlanta 28-26 on Sunday. In comments immediately after the game, he used strong language to challenge Holmgren's play call.
"We were going to win anyway," Alexander said after the game. "We were on the freakin' goal line, and I got stabbed in the back."
On Monday, he said: "It got the best of me. I definitely blurted out stuff I shouldn't have said. I wouldn't want to take any light away from this team and what we have accomplished."
It was a huge win for the Seahawks (9-7), who earned a home game in the wild-card weekend Saturday against division rival St. Louis. A loss would have sent Seattle on the road to play the Rams.
Alexander wore a "Division Champions" cap as he spoke to reporters.
|After Sunday's victory, Seahawks star Shaun Alexander hides his disappointment long enough to celebrate with fans. (Getty Images)|
Holmgren wasn't available for comment Monday.
In his postgame remarks, Holmgren indicated he had wanted Alexander to win the title. The Falcons drove 69 yards in the final 4:28 to pull within 28-26 before failing to convert the 2-point try.
"It's too bad we didn't get the ball back," Holmgren said. "They ate up the clock with their final drive. Shaun had a chance at the rushing championship, and just missed it. That was too bad. I would have liked to seen him get it."
Alexander said he hadn't spoken with Holmgren. He said he doesn't feel he must apologize in person to his coach or teammates, saying they know him well enough to realize he puts winning first and statistics second.
"It's really simple," he said. "I would have loved to have the record. But by no means does it have anything to do with taking any light, any excitement, any joy from this team and all the hard work we put together to win the division."