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Thursday, May 21: Anthony Alridge, As Fast As Advertised

Posted by Matt Terl on May 21, 2009 – 1:03 pm

The rookie class got to participate in their first community relations event yesterday, exercising (alongside several Redskins veterans, such as Ladell Betts, above) with three groups of local students as a reward for being the winners of the What Moves U Challenge to battle childhood obesity. (Briefly: students at area schools were encouraged to engage in some sort of physical activity for 60 minutes a day, every day over a four week period. These students were the top of the ones that met or exceeded the goal.)

The event was a success — the students spent an hour working out on the artificial turf practice field with the players, rotating through different stations and generally having a good time.

At least for me, though, the real star of the event was Anthony Alridge. The word on Alridge — acquired off waivers from the Denver Broncos this offseason — has always been that he was fast. You might remember the YouTube video I posted when he was signed, entitled “lookin’ like Barry Sanders”.

Or you might recall Vinny Cerrato, on his late March radio appearance, discussing Alridge’s speed thusly:

We also got a guy that Denver cut, Anthony Alridge, who the year before from the University of Houston, at the combine ran 4.34, at his personal workout ran a 4.22 and he is a third down guy. I talked to Mike Shanahan about him. When he got cut, when he was on the wire, I called him and said Mike, what do you think about this guy. He said, get him. He said he is the fastest guy I have ever seen on the field with the ball in his hands.

Or perhaps you remember the OTA practice report where I described Alridge as “a blazing speed guy,” and Coach Zorn characterized him as “FAST” emphatically enough that I transcribed it in all caps.

So, yes, Alridge = teh fast. Got it. But yesterday took it to an entirely different level, at least for me.

What I noticed first about him yesterday wasn’t his speed, but his enthusiasm. By which I mean how loud he was. By which I mean that he was bordering on Fred Smoot levels of volume. I came over to his group — a sprinting station, appropriately enough — because I could hear him from thirty yards away, shouting at one of the students preparing to run.

“Braids! Hey, Braids!” he was yelling, at a twelve year-old with cornrows, “I got fifty bucks says you’re going to win this one. Come on, Braids!” Then he yelled some more while the kids ran, and when the guy with cornrows lost, he teased him for a bit about costing him money.

This seemed promising, so I stuck around as the groups rotated … and then the next group to the sprinting station didn’t have an even number of students, so trainer Harrison Bernstein recruited Alridge to help out.

The game in question was Tag: one student would lie on their stomach with their hands on the 5 yard line; the other would stand on the goal line. The aim was for the student in the front to reach a target — in this case other new speedster Dominique Dorsey — before the chaser could tag him. Straightforward enough.

Of course, Alridge could make up the five yard gap no problem … so Bernstein positioned him fifteen yards back, at the back of the end zone. It didn’t matter.


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