The Green Bay Packers suspended cornerback Jaire Alexander on Wednesday after he crashed the pregame coin flip on Sunday and nearly cost his team a possession.
Alexander was not among the three pregame captains named by the Packers for their clash with the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Those three captains participate in the pregame coin toss at midfield. Generally, the team that wins the coin toss will either elect to go on offense to start the first half, or defer, which would allow the team to go on offense to start the second half.
Alexander told referees that he wanted the defense to go first. Had the referee not clarified with Alexander his call, Carolina could have gotten the ball to start both halves, thus costing Green Bay a possession.
Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst explained the decision in a statement Wednesday.
"The decision to suspend a player is never easy and not one we take lightly. Unfortunately, Jaire's actions prior to the game in Carolina led us to take this step," said Gutekunst. "As an organization, we have an expectation that everyone puts the team first. While we are disappointed, we had a good conversation with Jaire this morning and fully expect him to learn from this as we move forward together."
Alexander has established himself as a top cornerback, getting selected to the Pro Bowl two of the past three seasons.
Alexander, who grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, said he wanted to participate in the coin toss in his hometown.
"I said, 'I want our defense to be out there,' and they all looked at me like I am crazy," Alexander told reporters. "It is pretty simple what I said, 'I want the defense to be out there.' And they were like, 'You mean defer,' and I am like, 'Yeah, I guess.' Everybody was laughing about it."
The Packers squeezed by the Panthers on Sunday 33-30.
Alexander's one-game suspension will be served during the Packers' game this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings.
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