Derrick Alexander
No. 85, 82
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1971-11-06) November 6, 1971 (age 51)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:206 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Benedictine
(Detroit, Michigan)
NFL Draft:1994 / Round: 1 / Pick: 29
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:6,971
Receiving touchdowns:40
Player stats at · PFR

Derrick Scott Alexander (born November 6, 1971) is a former American football wide receiver. He played college football at the University of Michigan from 1989 to 1993 where he was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten receiver in both 1992 and 1993. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft and played nine seasons in the National Football League with the Cleveland Browns (1994–1995), Baltimore Ravens (1996–1997), Kansas City Chiefs (1998–2001), and Minnesota Vikings (2002). In 2000, he set a Kansas City Chiefs single-season record with 1,391 receiving yards. He is currently employed as the head coach at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri.

Early years

Alexander was born in Detroit in 1971.[1] He attended Benedictine High School where he competed in football, basketball, track, and baseball. In basketball, he played at the forward position, averaged 19 points per game, and received second-team All-Catholic honors in 1989.[2][3] In track, he ran 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, won the Class B Michigan championship in the 200-meter, finished second in the Class B long jump, and won the Catholic League finals in the 100-meter sprint.[2][4] Alexander's father, John, encouraged him to concentrate on one sport, but his mother, Marion, encouraged him to compete in multiple sports: "If he's playing sports he can't be running the streets and getting into trouble."[2]

Alexander had his greatest success in football. At Benedictine, he played at the running back, wide receiver, and safety positions and also returned punts and kickoffs. As a senior, he tallied 877 rushing yards (13.9 yards per carry) and over 1,000 receiving yards on 40 receptions. After his senior season, he was selected by the Detroit Free Press as a first-team player on its Class B all-state team and its 1988 All-Catholic team.[2][5]

In January 1989, Alexander was rated No. 2 on the Detroit Free Press "Fab 50" list of the top football prospects in the State of Michigan.[6] His mother expressed surprise at the recruiting process: "Every college you can think of has called. I know he had a lot of athletic ability, but I guess I am surprised at how much attention he is getting. This is unbelievable to me."[2] He signed with Michigan in February 1989.[7][8]

University of Michigan


Alexander enrolled at the University of Michigan in the fall of 1989. As a freshman, he caught six passes for 107 yards and one touchdown.[9][10]

Prior to his sophomore season, Alexander was awarded Michigan's No. 1 jersey previously worn by the school's top receivers. Alexander responded with a strong performance, catching 31 passes for 450 yards and six touchdowns. He also returned 13 kickoffs for an average of 27.8 yards per return.[9]

In the 1991 season opener against Boston College, Alexander was tackled by his left knee on a kickoff return and sustained a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament and ripped knee cartilage. He underwent arthroscopic surgery and missed the remainder of the 1991 season.[11][12]

1992 season

Alexander returned from the injury in 1992 as a redshirt junior. He totaled 50 receptions for 740 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns, rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown, and returned 26 punts for an average of 14.3 yards and two touchdowns.[9] Against Minnesota on October 24, he caught seven Elvis Grbac passes for 130 yards and set a Michigan record with four touchdown catches.[13] At the end of the season, he was selected by the Associated Press (AP) as a first-team receiver on the 1992 All-Big Ten Conference football team and a third-team player on the All-America team.[14][15]

1993 season

As a redshirt senior in 1993, he totaled 35 receptions for 621 yards and four touchdowns and returned 16 punts for an average of 10.2 yards and two touchdowns.[9] For the second time, he was selected by the AP as a first-team receiver on the 1993 All-Big Ten Conference football team.

Against Illinois on October 23, he caught seven Todd Collins passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. His 90-yard touchdown reception stood as the longest completion in Michigan football history until Mario Manningham surpassed it with a 97-yard reception on November 10, 2007 at Wisconsin.[9]

In the 1994 Hall of Fame Bowl, Alexander's last game for Michigan, he returned a punt for a touchdown. It was the first kick or punt return for a touchdown in a bowl game by a Michigan player.[16]

Career statistics

Alexander concluded his Michigan career having appeared in 44 games with 125 receptions for 1,977 yards, 22 touchdowns, and an average of 15.8 yards per reception. He returned 42 punts for 534 yards (12.7-yard average) and four touchdowns.[9]

Professional football

Cleveland Browns

Alexander was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the first round (29th overall pick) of the 1994 NFL Draft.[1] As a rookie, he led the Browns with 48 receptions for 828 yards.[17] With Bill Belichick as head coach, Vinny Testaverde at quarterback, Alexander at wide receiver, and Leroy Hoard at running back, the 1994 Browns compiled an 11–5 record.[18] After the season, Alexander was named to the 1994 NFL All-Rookie Team.[1]

Following a strong rookie season, Alexander fell into disfavor with coach Belichick in 1995. One writer joked that Alexander "was so deep in Coach Bill's doghouse that he was being served Alpo at team meals."[19] He started only two games, tallying 15 receptions for 216 yards.[1] His lone touchdown of the season came on a 69-yard punt return against the Buffalo Bills in a nationally-broadcast Monday night game.

Baltimore Ravens

Following the 1995 season, the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. Under new head coach Ted Marchibroda, Alexander regained his role as a starter and tallied 62 receptions for 1,099 yards. His average of 17.7 yards per catch was sixth best in the NFL.[1] On December 2, 1996, he caught seven passes for 198 yards (including 166 yards in the second quarter) against the Pittsburgh Steelers and was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week.[1][20]

Alexander had his second consecutive 1,000-yard season in 1997. He also had the longest reception in the NFL that year—a 92-yard touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks on December 7.[1][21]

As of 2006, he was the Ravens' all-time leader in yards-per reception (16.6). He also had the most 100-yard receiving games in Ravens history, as well as the longest pass reception.[22]

Kansas City Chiefs

As a free agent in March 1998, Alexander signed a five-year, $17.5 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.[23][24] At Kansas City, Alexander was reunited with his college quarterback Elvis Grbac. During the 1998 season, Alexander led the Chiefs with 992 receiving yards and averaged 18.4 yards per reception.[25]

In 1999, started 15 games for the Chiefs and caught 54 passes for 832 yards.[1]

Alexander had the best season of his career in 2000. Starting all 16 games, he caught 74 passes for 1,391 yards, an average of 17.8 yards per game.[1] His 1,391 receiving yards set a Chiefs single-season record that stood until 2018.[26]

An Achilles injury hampered Alexander's performance in 2001. He finished the season with 27 receptions for 470 yards.[1]

Minnesota Vikings

As a free agent in 2002, Alexander signed a $5.1 million, three-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings.[27] He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in mid-November and underwent surgery the later that month. He missed the remainder of the season, finishing his year with 14 receptions for 134 yards and one touchdown.[1]

Alexander was unable to run until July 2003. He attempted a comeback with the Vikings but was released on August 12, 2003.[28]


On July 22, 2005, he signed a one-day ceremonial contract with the Chiefs to retire as a Chief.[29] He ended his NFL career having appeared in 126 games with 417 receptions for 6,971 yards and 40 touchdowns. He also had 210 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown.[1]

NFL career statistics

Year Team GP Receiving Fumbles
Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FD Fum Lost
1994 CLE 14 48 828 17.3 81 2 38 2 0
1995 CLE 14 15 216 14.4 40 0 9 1 0
1996 BAL 15 62 1,099 17.7 64 9 50 0 0
1997 BAL 15 65 1,009 15.5 92 9 39 1 1
1998 KC 15 54 992 18.4 65 4 40 0 0
1999 KC 16 54 832 15.4 86 2 31 0 0
2000 KC 16 78 1,391 17.8 81 10 55 0 0
2001 KC 13 27 470 17.4 46 3 22 0 0
2002 MIN 8 14 134 9.6 18 1 7 0 0
Career[30] 126 417 6,971 16.7 92 40 291 4 1

Coaching career

After his playing career, Alexander worked from 2006 to 2011 as an information technology systems analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He next worked as a systems engineer for Cerner Corporation from 2011 to 2015.[31][32]

He later participated in the NFL Players Association's coaching internship program. In 2015, he coached wide receivers at Wilmington College in Ohio. He later served from 2016 to 2018 as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Avila University in Kansas City.[31][33]

In March 2019, he was hired as an assistant on former teammate Tyrone Wheatley's coaching staff at Morgan State University. Alexander is the team's pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach.[34][33]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Derrick Alexander". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved July 3, 2020 – via
  2. ^ a b c d e "Late-bloomer has all the right moves". Detroit Free Press. January 15, 1989. p. 10E – via
  3. ^ "Detroit Free Press". March 22, 1989. p. 10D – via
  4. ^ "Central runners keep a prom miss". Detroit Free Press. May 29, 1988. p. 6H.
  5. ^ "All-Catholic First-Team Offense". Detroit Free Press. November 12, 1988. p. 4C – via
  6. ^ "Mick McCabe's Fab 50". Detroit Free Press. January 15, 1989. p. 10E – via
  7. ^ "Michigan doesn't sign many, but the talent unquestioned". Detroit Free Press. February 9, 1989. p. 6D – via
  8. ^ "'M' signs 19 gridders". The Michigan Daily. February 9, 1989. p. 10 – via Bentley Historical Library.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "University of Michigan Football All-Americans: Derrick Alexander Wide Receiver, 1992". Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  10. ^ "Derrick Alexander". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  11. ^ Matt Rennie (September 12, 1991). "Knee injury ends Alexander's season". The Michigan Daily. p. 10 – via Bentley Historical Library.
  12. ^ Theodore Cox (September 16, 1991). "Knee holds Alexander hostage in press box". The Michigan Daily. p. 5 – via Bentley Historical Library.
  13. ^ "Alexander for emperor?". The Michigan Daily. October 26, 1992. pp. 12–13 – via Bentley Historical Library.
  14. ^ "1992 All-Big Ten Football". The Michigan Daily. November 25, 1992. p. 8 – via
  15. ^ "Duo repeats on AP All-America team". The Galveston Daily News. December 11, 1992. p. 3B – via
  16. ^ "Odds and Ends". The Tampa Tribune. January 2, 1994. p. Sports 13 – via
  17. ^ "Rookie great catch for Browns: Derrick Alexander not surprised by production". News Journal. December 28, 1994. p. 14A – via
  18. ^ "1994 Cleveland Browns Statistics & Players". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  19. ^ "In defense of the defense, it needed help". The Akron Beacon Journal. October 3, 1995 – via
  20. ^ "Alexander uncovers big day, big numbers". The Baltimore Sun. December 2, 1996. p. 8C – via
  21. ^ "Inspired Alexander returns in style". The Baltimore Sun. December 8, 1997. p. 9C – via
  22. ^ "Ravens Records" (PDF). Baltimore Ravens 2006 Media Guide. Baltimore Ravens. Retrieved 2007-01-20.[dead link]
  23. ^ "Chiefs sign Alexander". The Manhattan Mercury. March 3, 1998. p. B3 – via
  24. ^ "Alexander Is Signed To Pair With Rison". The New York Times. March 3, 1998. Retrieved 2007-01-20.
  25. ^ "1998 Kansas City Chiefs Statistics & Players". Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  26. ^ "All-Time Records". KC Kansas City Chiefs. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2007.
  27. ^ "Vikings sign KC receiver". St. Cloud Times. June 8, 2002. p. 1D – via
  28. ^ "Veteran Alexander released: Slow recovery from knee surgery limited wide receiver in camp". Minneapolis Star Tribune. August 13, 2003. p. C6 – via
  29. ^ "WR Alexander retires with Chiefs". NFL Enterprises LLC. 2005-07-22. Archived from the original on 2006-12-10. Retrieved 2007-01-20.
  30. ^ "Derrick Alexander Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  31. ^ "Catching Up With Derrick Alexander: Wide receiver helped vanquish Steelers in 1996". The Baltimore Sun. September 10, 2011. p. Sports 3 – via
  32. ^ a b "Derrick Alexander". Morgan State University. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  33. ^ Glenn Clark (April 15, 2019). "Former Ravens Receive Derrick Alexander Is Back ... And That's Great For Baltimore". PressBox.