In what is probably one of the more upsetting personal stories in the NFL that I have come across this offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals have for the second time had one of their players temporarily leave the team to attend to family matters. Previously, wide receiver John Ross left in order to take care of his young child, who had tested positive for Covid-19. He has since returned and is back on the field.
On Tuesday, cornerback Mackensie Alexander left the team in order to search for his 65-year-old father, Jean Alexandre (not a typo), who was reported as missing the previous day. He had reportedly gone with a group of individuals to pick berries and was lost to his party.
Yesterday, Alexander and a friend paid a visit to the last person known to have seen his father. They interrogated him in order to try to ascertain his father’s whereabouts and attempted to force him to leave with them. When he refused, Alexander assaulted him, leaving minor abrasions on his face.
Alexander, whom the Bengals signed as an unrestricted free agent to take over in their nickel role, was arrested yesterday, along with his friend, and released on a $2000 bond. They will face charges of battery. In the meanwhile, he intends to rejoin the search for his missing elderly father.
One can only imagine—possibly even relate—to the emotional turmoil and distress that Alexander is experiencing right now, and while I certainly don’t look to justify his actions, my heart nevertheless goes out to him and his family at this time.
The two originally arrived at the man’s home bringing law enforcement with them in an attempt to gather information about the circumstances surrounding his father’s disappearance. The assault occurred after officers left the scene and Alexander continued to question the witness. The search for his father remains ongoing, needless to say.
From a football perspective, barring legal issues, it’s not clear how long this incident will keep him away from the team. Obviously it’s an evolving situation driven by the search itself, and could be resolved quickly if they actually manage to find him. In the event of the worst-case scenario, that being his passing, he would naturally take time to mourn as well.
More serious from an on-field perspective is the situation with the other cornerback the Bengals signed in free agency. Letting Dre Kirkpatrick go, they brought in Trae Waynes, who like Alexander was also coming over from the Minnesota Vikings. Waynes suffered a torn pectoral muscle and is expected to miss at least the majority of the season.