Alexander Wright
No. 81, 89
Position:Wide receiver, Kick returner
Personal information
Born: (1967-07-19) July 19, 1967 (age 54)
Albany, Georgia
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Albany (Albany, Georgia)
College:Auburn
NFL Draft:1990 / Round: 2 / Pick: 26
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played:86
Receptions:101
Receiving yards:1,597
Receiving touchdowns:10
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Alexander Wright (born July 19, 1967) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Raiders and St. Louis Rams. He was a two-time winner of the NFL's "Fastest Man" competition. He played college football at Auburn University.

Early years

Wright attended Albany High School, where he focused on track and field until his senior season, when he made the football team. He played at wide receiver and cornerback, where his athletic ability allowed him to cover opposing players one-on-one without any additional support.

College career

He accepted a football scholarship from Auburn University. He was initially a defensive back, but because of his poor tackling and lack of run support abilities, he was moved to wide receiver as a sophomore. As a junior in his first start, he faced the University of Tennessee, tallying 3 receptions for 108 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. In the season, he registered 12 receptions for 279 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Wright developed slowly on the offensive side of the ball and didn't see much playing time, until becoming a starter as a senior after replacing the graduated Lawyer Tillman. In the season opener against the University of the Pacific, he registered single-game school records with 263 receiving yards (52.6 average) and 4 touchdowns. Against the University of Tennessee, he collected four receptions for 129 yards and one touchdown.

He had an outstanding game against the University of Alabama, recording 7 receptions for 143 yards in a 30-20 victory over unbeaten Alabama, in the season finale and first Iron Bowl to be played at Jordan–Hare Stadium.[1] After finishing the season with 30 receptions (led the team) for 714 yards (led the team) and 6 receiving touchdowns (led the team) in a ground oriented offense, he received the Shug Jordan Award as the team's outstanding senior football player.

Wright finished in the school's all-time top ten career receiving list with 56 receptions for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns. He still holds the record with a career average of 23.57 yards per reception.[2] One-out-of-five of his 56 receptions went for touchdown with an average distance of over 57 yards. Of his 11 touchdown receptions, 6 were longer than 50 yards. He also scored in 4 out of the 12 times he ran a reverse run.

He also practiced track and field. In 1988, he won the Southeastern Conference title in both the 55 meters and the 200 meters, becoming only the second athlete in conference history to be named All-American in three events (55 meters, 200 meters and 4 × 100 metres relay). His time of 6.18 seconds in the 55 meters, at the time tied him with Bo Jackson as the sixth fastest sprinter in school history.

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split Vertical jump
5 ft 11 in
(1.80 m)
184 lb
(83 kg)
30+12 in
(0.77 m)
8+12 in
(0.22 m)
4.42 s 1.53 s 2.64 s 35.5 in
(0.90 m)
All values from NFL Combine[3]

Dallas Cowboys

Wright was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round (26th overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft, the first wide receiver to be chosen and the first pick of the round. Although he was considered a raw football player, he was also seen as a gifted athlete with elite speed.

He was intended to become a deep threat wide receiver, to complement running back Emmitt Smith, chosen in the first round of the same draft. As well as Smith, he also had a long (40 days) rookie contract holdout, that forced him to miss most of training camp and the first two preseason games.[4] In the second game against the New York Giants he returned a kickoff for a 90-yard touchdown.

In 1991, he was a starter at wide receiver in the first 8 games, before being passed on the depth chart by rookie Alvin Harper. He displayed his talent on special teams as a kickoff returner, ranking third in the league and second in the NFC. Against the Phoenix Cardinals he had a 71-yard kickoff return. On December 22, 1991, he set the record for the longest play in Cowboys history, with a 102-yard kick off return against the Atlanta Falcons.[5] As of 2018, he and Mel Renfro are the only Cowboys with multiple kick return touchdowns.

Wright was one of the fastest players in the league, winning the NFL's "Fastest Man" competition in 1992 and 1993. In May 1991, he was timed to have run the 40-yard dash in 4.14 seconds.[6] He was also the strongest wide receiver on the team.

He did not develop as well as expected, however, and when later asked about his performance, he admitted "I was never a polished package". At the end of the 1991 season, the Cowboys began looking for trade offers. On October 13, 1992, he was traded to the Los Angeles Raiders in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick (#96-Ron Stone), when he still had no receptions following the first five games of the season.[7]

Los Angeles Raiders

Wright was acquired to complement Tim Brown and Willie Gault in the team's speed-driven offense. In 1993, he became a full-time starter and had his most productive season, recording 27 receptions for 462 yards. During the final game of that season and with the Raiders trailing the Denver Broncos 23-30, he caught the game-tying touchdown pass from Jeff Hostetler and the Raiders went on to win the game 33-30, while earning a spot in the playoffs.[8]

In 1994, he was sidelined for most of training camp with a calf injury he suffered in the first week of activity, but still managed to keep his starting position.[9] During his time with the Raiders, sportscaster Chris Berman nicknamed him “If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want to Be” Wright.

St. Louis Rams

On March 22, 1995, he was signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Rams.[10] A bulging disk in his lower back forced him to miss the last 8 games of the season.[11] The next year his back problems resurfaced and he was limited to 3 games.[12] He retired after the 1996 season, due to health reasons related to his back.

Statistics

Receiving Rushing Fumbles
Year Team GP Rec Yds Avg TD Lng Att Yds Avg TD Lng Tot OwR Yds
1990 DAL 15 11 104 9.5 0 20 3 26 8.7 0 14 1 1 0
1991 DAL 16 10 170 17.0 0 53 2 -1 -0.5 0 3 0
1992 DAL 4 0 0 0
1992 LAR 10 12 175 14.6 2 41t 0 1 0 0
1993 LAR 15 27 462 17.1 4 68t 0 0
1994 LAR 16 16 294 18.4 2 76t 0 0 1 0
1995 STL 8 23 368 16.0 2 50 1 17 17.0 0 17 0
1996 STL 3 2 24 12.0 0 13 0 0
7 seasons 87 101 1597 15.8 10 76t 6 42 7.0 0 17 2 2 0

Coaching career

In 1999, Wright earned the Master of Arts in sports management from Lindenwood University. In 2002, he served as the interim head coach of the River City Renegades, a National Indoor Football League team.

In 2003, he served as the wide receiver coach for Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. In 2004, he was the wide receiver coach for West Texas A&M University. In 2005, he was hired to be the offensive coordinator at Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina. He was the offensive coordinator for Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas. He then took a role as the athletic director and head football coach at San Jacinto Christian Academy in Amarillo, Texas, in which he served from 2008 t o 2010. He also assisted with the track team.

Wright later moved to San Antonio for his ministry and is the former athletic director and head football coach for Cornerstone Christian Schools. He is the current President and CEO for Alexander Wright Ministries in Amarillo. He is also a pastor at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.

References

  1. ^ MALCOLM MORAN, Special to The New York Times (December 3, 1989). "Alabama Tripped Up By Auburn". NY Times. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "AUBURN VS. WASHINGTON STATE PREVIEW". University of Auburn. August 28, 2006. Archived from the original on April 16, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  3. ^ "Alexander Wright, Combine Results, WR - Auburn". nflcombineresults.com. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  4. ^ "Wright, Solomon end their holdouts for the Cowboys". Daily News. August 26, 1990. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  5. ^ "Bryan McCann is Player of the Week". ESPN.com. November 16, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  6. ^ Smith, Timothy W. (January 30, 1991). "Browns Won't Be Built in a Season". NY Times. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Cowboys deal Wright". Times Daily. October 14, 1992. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2009-04-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Wright Might Be on Way Out". LA Times. August 19, 1994. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "Transactions". NY Times. March 23, 1995. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  11. ^ "Rams' Wright to have surgery". Lawrence Journal-World. October 13, 1995. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  12. ^ "Rams pickup former KC offensive lineman, ex-Bear defensive back". The Southeast Missourian. September 5, 1996. Retrieved March 30, 2018.