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Originally published October 14, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 14, 2008 at 12:05 AM

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Shaun Alexander appears set to sign with Washington Redskins

Former Seahawk Shaun Alexander will visit the Washington Redskins today and is expected to sign with the team if he passes a physical examination...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Former Seahawk Shaun Alexander will visit the Washington Redskins today and is expected to sign with the team if he passes a physical examination.

A source close to Alexander confirmed that's the direction Alexander appears headed, news first reported by the NFL Network and ESPN.com.

Alexander, the league's MVP in 2005, played his first eight seasons for the Seahawks. He is the franchise's career rushing leader but has remained unsigned since Seattle released him just before the NFL draft in April.

Alexander has continued to live in the Seattle area, and his charity has remained active.

If he signed with Washington, he could be with the team when it plays the Seahawks on Nov. 23 at Qwest Field.

Alexander visited New Orleans and Cincinnati in the offseason, but neither signed him. He also visited Detroit after the season began. Now he's headed to Washington, where he would play for coach Jim Zorn, who was Seattle's quarterbacks coach while Alexander was here.

Washington's staff also includes Stump Mitchell, who coached Seattle's running backs while Alexander was with the team.

Washington is 4-2, tied for second in the NFC East, and has a need in its backfield after Ladell Betts — the backup to starter Clinton Portis — suffered a knee injury Sunday against St. Louis. The injury to Betts is not serious, according to the Washington Post, which reported it is expected to keep Betts out about two weeks.

Alexander, 31, rushed for 9,429 yards in eight NFL seasons after being drafted in the first round from Alabama. The Seahawks chose him No. 19 overall in 2000, and he played as a backup to Ricky Watters as a rookie.

Alexander gained more than 1,000 yards rushing in five consecutive seasons starting in 2001 and scored 98 touchdowns in that span — 87 rushing and 11 receiving.

After the 2005 Super Bowl season, Seattle re-signed him in 2006 to an eight-year contract that included an $11.5 million signing bonus.

Alexander's rushing total and average yards per rush declined in 2006 and again in 2007, leading the Seahawks to release him.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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