Always one to speak his mind, Shaun Alexander's message came through loud and clear. He won't play unless he gets a long-term contract...

Always one to speak his mind, Shaun Alexander’s message came through loud and clear. He won’t play unless he gets a long-term contract, but he remains confident that will happen.


Otherwise, Alexander is prepared to sit and wait, even into the regular season.


Alexander said signing the team’s $6.32 million franchise tender is “out of the question.” When asked if it will come down to not playing without a long-term deal, he replied, “Pretty much, yeah.”


“I’m pretty strong about my principles,” the Seahawks Pro Bowl running back said yesterday at the Adonai Hood Classic basketball tournament at Seattle’s Garfield High School. “We’re all under the same understanding. It’s not like a bitter thing. I’ve told them that I love playing for Seattle. To me, it’s not about money, it’s just about a principle.”


Alexander refuted any notion he and coach Mike Holmgren have a strained relationship, in part because Alexander fell 2 yards short of the NFL rushing title last season. Still he seems intent on standing fast, despite the fact he wants to be in Seattle and the team has expressed a desire to keep him. The Seahawks gave Alexander the franchise tag this offseason to keep him from becoming a free agent.


Alexander wanted to have his contract extended earlier in his career, he said.


“I told them three years ago that I love playing here and let’s do something now. Let’s meet,” Alexander said. “It was just me and Mike [Holmgren]. There were no agents involved. I said, ‘You know what? My wife’s here. My family’s here. I want to be here until I retire. It’s really funny because back then I would have worked for peanuts.


“Two Pro Bowls and 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns later, now it’s time to talk? And I’m like, ‘Why would you do this?’ So now it’s just one of those things where I say, ‘Let’s do what’s right.’ I’m not trying to be evil or greedy or anything, let’s just do what’s right.”


The Seahawks are forbidden to reopen negotiations with Alexander until July 15, per NFL rules. Until then, Alexander will wait. He is high on the roster additions made by new team president Tim Ruskell, but has informed Holmgren of his convictions regarding a new contract.


“I honestly believe that they’re going to make a great deal for me,” Alexander said. “I’m going to end up signing and it’s going to be no big deal. [But] I’m not naive to think that you can make a deal like that overnight.”