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Bucs LB Alexander makes first return to site of emotional game

Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) forces Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) out of bounds during the second quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. The Redskins defeated the Buccaneers 31-30.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) forces Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) out of bounds during the second quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. The Redskins defeated the Buccaneers 31-30.

TAMPA — The last time the Bucs played in the Georgia Dome, it was the biggest and most emotionally difficult game of LB Kwon Alexander's rookie season.

Two nights before, on Oct. 30, Alexander had learned that his teenage brother, Broderick, was shot and killed in their Alabama hometown. He played that game against the Falcons — and has played every game since — in his brother's memory.

The Bucs open their season on the road against the Falcons on Sunday. In their last game in Atlanta, Alexander had 11 tackles and two huge plays: forcing and recovering a fumble by WR Julio Jones and intercepting a Matt Ryan pass. He had a 90-yard interception called back by a penalty as well.

It was a galvanizing game that brought a young Bucs team closer together, and it established Alexander as a playmaker.

"We've always been close. This is a family," Alexander said. "They've been behind my back since I got here, and I'm behind their back. That's how we'll always be."

MORE MOVES: For the second day in a row, the Bucs on Friday are expected to tweak their opening day roster to add depth to offset an injury, with second-year LB Josh Keyes expected to be promoted from the practice squad. Keyes, 23, stepped in as the backup strongside linebacker in the final two preseason games, replacing rookie Devante Bond (hamstring), who has been limited in practice after returning this week. If Bond wasn't able to play in Sunday's season opener against the Falcons, the Bucs would have only four linebackers available without promoting Keyes. The Bucs had to make a similar move Wednesday, waiving No. 3 RB Mike James, who had been limited by injury, promoting rookie Peyton Barber from the practice squad. The Bucs didn't announce the Keyes move Thursday, so it was unknown what the corresponding move would be to open a spot on the 53-man roster.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: On Monday night, Bucs rookie K Roberto Aguayo went to Orlando for brother Ricky's college debut, taking over for him as Florida State's kicker. "It was exciting. It brought memories of when I opened up at Pittsburgh," Aguayo said. "I knew he was going to do well, and he actually broke some of my records. It was definitely an entertaining game to watch and went very well for him and the team." Ricky went 6-for-6 on field goals in the Seminoles' 45-34 win over Ole Miss, breaking a school record that Roberto had a share of with five. Roberto makes his NFL debut Sunday at the Georgia Dome, where he finished his college career, losing to Houston in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.

Bucs LB Alexander makes first return to site of emotional game 09/08/16 [Last modified: Thursday, September 8, 2016 9:55pm]
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