Heavy hearts filled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ locker room following the team’s 23-20 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Less than 48 hours prior to kickoff, linebacker Kwon Alexander learned his 17-year-old brother, Broderick Taylor II, was killed in a shooting in their hometown of Anniston, Ala.
Despite the tragedy, Alexander not only played but also had a substantial impact on the outcome. The fourth-round draft pick out of LSU came up with two turnovers — one interception and one fumble recovery — to go along with a career-high 11 tackles.
The team awarded Alexander the game ball.
Alexander spoke to ESPN’s Matt Winkeljohn about his emotions after the game.
“It’s been hard, man,” Alexander said. “He was my little brother, but I know he’d want me to be strong for him, and I came out here and dedicated this game to him. (I was) very determined because (he) wanted me to do it. All he wanted me to do is ball, so dedicated it to him.”
Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith gave Alexander the choice to sit out the game, but the linebacker opted to play.
“I left it up to him,” Smith told ESPN. “I can’t imagine losing your 17-year-old brother when you’re fairly young, too. Again, football is a haven for you sometimes. It’s a place to go. … His teammates were there for him, being supportive.”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@theScoreNFL