Alfred Morris Is One of Few Remaining Role Models in Professional Sports

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 13, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 02:  NFL player Alfred Morris attends the 2nd Annual NFL Honors at Mahalia Jackson Theater on February 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

While I've committed much of my life to the world of sports, I've always been adamant that professional athletes shouldn't typically be viewed as role models. If or when I have kids of my own, I'll make a special effort to ensure that my spawn don't idolize the players they watch for anything more than what they do on the field, ice or court. 

I know a lot of real good dudes who play NFL football, NHL hockey, NBA basketball and Major League Baseball, but far too many are man-children with a penchant for abusing substances and/or womanizing and/or disobeying the law. 

Once in a while, though, a player comes along who fully gets it. No ego, no sense of entitlement, no terrible knee-jerk investments. 

Second-year Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris fits that profile.

The 24-year-old made a base salary of $390,000 in 2012, but he's still driving a 1991 Mazda 626, which has a blue-book value of $1,160 but sentimental value that can't be matched. And, as Yahoo! Sports uncovered in a recent profile on Morris, he still sleeps on the couch at his parents' place in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla. 

We're talking about a man who finished second in the NFL in rushing last season.

When Macy's asked several Redskins players to write Santa a Christmas list for a campaign last winter, here's what Morris wrote (per the Washington Post): 

Dear Santa,
I'm writing not to ask for a gift, but to ask you what you want for Christmas? You give every year and it's your turn to receive, because it's not always about receiving.
Alfred Morris

Morris is slated to receive $90,000 raises in each of the next three seasons, but he won't be a millionaire until he signs a new deal. I get the feeling, though, that even an eight-figure deal won't change the way this guy lives his life. 

There's nothing wrong with splurging when you've got the money, but it's Morris' simple approach that is so admirable and his long-term vision that is so impressive. 

"The NFL isn't a career, it's an experience," he told Yahoo!, via the Washington Post. "Most careers last 40-50 years, and people grow old in them."

That's it right there. Those who don't see that are those who are liable to spend beyond their long-term means. Morris knows how lucky he is and he's not going to risk throwing any of it away. That wouldn't be fair to himself or his family. The combination of modesty and foresight is uncanny. 

If you have a son or daughter still in search of a sports hero, do yourself a favor and steer him or her in Morris' direction. Because this guy has the power to inspire in refreshing and rarely-seen fashion.