Parked among the decked-out sport-utility vehicles and smooth, sporty rides at Redskins Park is a silver, 1991 Mazda 626 sedan that Alfred Morris just can’t give up.
Morris, a rookie running back, can most likely afford a nicer vehicle, but his ’91 Mazda — which is affectionately known as his “Bentley” — reminds Morris of his journey of playing at mid-level Florida Atlantic University to starting in his first two career games in the National Football League.
“It has some sentimental value to it now,” Morris said Wednesday before the Redskins headed out for practice. “It just keeps me grounded, where I came from and all the hard work for me to get to this point. So that’s what helps me.”
Morris said he didn’t have a vehicle at all until his junior year at FAU, so he certainly didn’t turn his nose up at “Bentley” when he had the chance to get it.
“I could’ve been like, ‘Ah, I don’t want this piece of crap,’” Morris said. “But I always wanted a car, and it was what I got.”
Learning to tame his “Bentley” wasn’t an easy task for Morris.
“It’s a stick-shift,” Morris said. “I had to teach myself how to drive it.”
Which made for some interesting road trips.
“It was rough,” Morris recalled. “I put my emergency lights on, and people would be driving behind me, and I’d be like, ‘My emergency lights are on — stop following me.’
“I’d be stalling at lights and stuff and just sitting there trying to get it started back up, and I’d be like, ‘I have emergency lights on. Why would you get behind me? You see the lights — go around.’”
Since that time, however, Morris has had some quality time to bond with his vehicle, considering he drove it more than 20 hours from South Florida to his new D.C.-area residence when he was drafted by the Redskins.
But how did he land on a name like “Bentley,” which is one of the more luxurious automobile manufacturers on the planet?
“My friends, when I first got it — it was kind of an eyesore,” said Morris, who then added that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
“But my friends just teased me like, ‘Man, what are you doing in that piece of crap?’ and I’d say, ‘Oh, you talkin’ ’bout that Bentley right there?’” Morris said. “The name just stuck, and eventually all my friends would be like, ‘Hey let me get a ride in the Bentley!’”
As it stands today, the Kelley Blue Book private-party value on Morris’ Mazda 626 is about $1,160. And that’s in perfect condition.
Also, that’s for a 1992 Mazda 626 model. Kelley Blue Book doesn’t even offer the option to go back to 1991.
Anyway, Morris said he’ll likely buy a new car someday, but he plans on making “Bentley” a family heirloom.
“One day, my kids are going to drive that car,” Morris said with a laugh. “If it breaks down, I’m gettin’ it fixed. That’s just how I am.”
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