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Alexander to rejoin Seahawks, will start

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Dec. 28, 2005) -- Seahawks record-seeking runner Shaun Alexander will leave the team Dec. 29 to attend a family funeral in Cincinnati and will then rejoin the team in time to start Jan. 1's regular-season finale at Green Bay.

Seattle coach Mike Holmgren confirmed Alexander will attend his aunt's funeral and then fly from Ohio Dec. 31 to meet the team in Wisconsin.

The Seahawks have known since Dec. 26 Alexander would be leaving them. But Alexander had not been certain when he would be back because he did not yet know when the funeral would be.

Alexander tied Priest Holmes' NFL record of 27 touchdowns in a season in the win over Indianapolis. He also has a career-high and Seahawks record 1,807 yards rushing and is closing in on his first league rushing title. He leads Tiki Barber of the New York Giants by 150 yards entering this weekend's finales.

Alexander missed the rushing crown by 1 yard last season.

Seattle (13-2) has clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Barber's game with his Giants Saturday night at Oakland is more important because New York needs a win to clinch the NFC East title.

Holmgren said he would substitute his starters "pretty liberally" throughout the game. When asked if he would put Alexander back into the game late if he had yet to get the record-breaking touchdown, the coach shook his head and said, "I don't know. Let me think about that a little.

"I want him to get the record. We all want him to get the record," Holmgren said.

"The most important thing is we have our guys healthy for the playoffs. So if the situation comes up I am going to have to make a decision at the time -- just like whether to go for it on fourth down or not."

Alexander's aunt died early Monday morning. Alexander said he and his brother were especially close to her, because she did not have children of her own.

"We kind of got to be like her sons," Alexander said.

Alexander said playing "will be different."

"But life goes on," he said.

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