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Jaire Alexander Suspended As Packers React to Coin Toss Confusion

Jaire Alexander (Credits: Jeffrrey Phelps)

Jaire Alexander’s tumultuous season has taken another unexpected turn. Just days after naming himself one of the Green Bay Packers’ captains, a move that coach Matt LaFleur termed “a big mistake” due to a coin toss confusion, Alexander has been suspended by the team for one game.

The Packers placed Alexander on the reserve/suspended list on Wednesday, citing “conduct detrimental to the team.”

“The decision to suspend a player is never easy and not one we take lightly,” said Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst in a statement. “Unfortunately, Jaire’s actions prior to the game in Carolina led us to take this step.

As an organization, we have an expectation that everyone puts the team first. While we are disappointed, we had a good conversation with Jaire this morning and fully expect him to learn from this as we move forward together.

We look forward to welcoming him back next week as he is a valued member of this team and will continue to be in the future.”

Despite the setback, the Packers managed to secure a 33-30 victory over the Carolina Panthers, setting up a crucial game against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday.

Both teams are currently 7-8 and vying for an NFC wild-card spot, but the Packers will be without Alexander, notably against Vikings’ star receiver Justin Jefferson.

“Surely, it was a difficult decision, especially given our current situation, one that we do not take lightly,” LaFleur acknowledged on Wednesday.

“However, there are standards that we all must adhere to, and when they are not met, unfortunately, drastic measures must sometimes be taken.

Nevertheless, we anticipate his return and are eager for it. We had a productive discussion this morning, and while it may be challenging now, I believe we will all benefit from this experience moving forward.”

The incident that led to Alexander’s suspension occurred before the game in Carolina.

Alexander, who hails from Charlotte, walked out to midfield alongside the Packers’ three game captains — Aaron Jones, Quay Walker, and Eric Wilson. This season, the Packers opted not to appoint season-long captains, instead rotating the role weekly.

During the coin toss, Alexander called “tails” and won. However, his subsequent statement that the Packers wished to be on defense was interpreted by referee Alex Kemp as a desire to kick off.

LaFleur clarified before the game that if the Packers won the toss, they would defer their choice to the second half. Kemp then corrected Alexander’s call to reflect this intention.

“That was a significant error,” LaFleur remarked post-game regarding Alexander’s call. “This is something we review with the team before every game—what to do if we win the toss.

I spoke with the officials before the game to ensure they understood our strategy. We had a similar situation earlier this season, so we always try to be proactive in our approach.”

Jaire Alexander (Credits: NFL)

Following the game, Alexander showed no remorse or regret for his actions. When questioned about his decision to join the captains at midfield, Alexander responded, “It felt appropriate. I don’t think Coach knew I was from Charlotte, so…”

Sunday’s game marked Alexander’s return to play since November 5, when he sustained a shoulder injury against the Rams.

Despite practicing on a limited basis, Alexander remained inactive week after week, prompting speculation beyond his injury status. However, Alexander and those close to him insisted that his absence was solely due to injury, not dissatisfaction with the organization.

LaFleur emphasized that the suspension was unrelated to Alexander’s inability to play due to injury.

“I’ll just say this: It’s never about just one thing,” LaFleur stated on Wednesday. “However, as I mentioned, there are many lessons to be learned along the way for everyone involved. I believe we will learn from them. Moving forward, I expect better communication.”

As a result of the suspension, Alexander, who is the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback at $21 million annually, will forfeit one week’s pay.

Given that most of his earnings come from signing and roster bonuses, his base salary of $1.08 million means he will lose only his $60,000 weekly game check, in addition to the $38,235 he receives weekly in roster bonuses when active.

Alexander also declined a $700,000 workout bonus earlier this year when he opted out of most of the offseason program.

Upon reporting to the team’s mandatory minicamp in June, Alexander expressed a preference for remaining in Green Bay when the team facility was less busy, remaining in town after the previous season before leaving when voluntary workouts began in April.

Through six games this season, Alexander has tallied four pass breakups but no interceptions. He has twice been named a second-team All-Pro (2020, 2022).

This incident casts uncertainty over Alexander’s future with the Packers. In 2024, he is scheduled to earn $16 million in salary and bonuses, with an $8 million roster bonus due in March.

Should the Packers release him before then, they would incur significant dead money charges, resulting in a net loss of over $3 million against next year’s salary cap.

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