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Alexander ready to go for NFC championship

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Jan. 18, 2006) -- Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren removed all doubt: NFL MVP Shaun Alexander will play in the team's conference championship game against Carolina.

So will starting right tackle Sean Locklear, who spent the previous two days in jail on a domestic violence charge.

Alexander sustained a concussion in the first quarter of Seattle's win over Washington. The league rushing champion later said he was unconscious initially and then "out" of it for about 20 minutes.

But Holmgren said the All-Pro back will be ready for the Panthers.

"Shaun's full go," the coach said. "He passed some tests we gave him yesterday. He participated in our walkthrough this morning. He's going to be fine."

In the Jan. 18 full afternoon non-contact practice, Alexander split first-team practice time with backup Maurice Morris. Morris rushed 18 times for 49 yards while replacing Alexander against the Redskins.

Alexander, who rushed for a team-record 1,880 yards in the regular season, joked he learned something about himself over a four-day battery of doctors' tests.

"Oh yeah. I took all the tests and realized the guy knocked some sense into me," Alexander said of Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington, who appeared to hit the back of Alexander's helmet during a 1-yard loss. "I am actually smarter than I was before."

He also apparently has his sense of perspective back.

The potential free agent said on a conference call to Carolina reporters he has an appreciation for the situation former Seahawks teammate Ken Lucas went through this past year.

When asked if he was sad to see Lucas leave Seattle, Alexander said: "I definitely was. But then, at the same time, who knows if I am going to be here or not?"

"I told him you never know, I might be out there with you. Whenever you lose a teammate it's rough. When you lose a friend it's worse," Alexander added.

Alexander has repeatedly expressed his desire this season to "win three or four Super Bowls for Seattle." But he said last month talks with the Seahawks on a contract extension were put off until after the postseason.

Meanwhile, Holmgren told Locklear he will start.

On Tuesday, Locklear was in a Seattle courtroom getting a Feb. 13 hearing date for an assault charge. He pleaded innocent to allegedly grabbing his live-in girlfriend around the neck and leaving red marks on her neck and chest outside a Seattle nightspot early Jan. 15. He spent two days in the King County Jail.

"As he explained to me exactly what happened, I believe I understand what happened. At that point I have made the decision that he will play in the football game," Holmgren said.

Locklear, 24, apologized to Seattle and his teammates.

"I want to start off today by apologizing to the community and everybody," the first-year starter said. "I'm not proud of the things I've done."

Locklear said Holmgren repeatedly talks to the team about ensuring personal affairs don't become public news. Those warnings became even more frequent in October, after starting safety Ken Hamlin was lost for the season with a fractured skull from a street fight outside a bar.

"He talks about it all the time," Locklear said. "That's his job. He's supposed to talk about it.

"But we, as grown men, should know what we are supposed to do, the rights and wrongs."

Holmgren added what happened was far out of character for Locklear, a third-round draft choice in 2004 out of North Carolina State.

"He really does realize that the players represent the community," Holmgren said. "He is one of the guys that I think would like to be a role model in this community.

"He realizes that this has been a negative thing in what should be a feel good week for us."

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