ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Alfred Morris is entering the unknown later this week. He was drafted out of college. He played four years with the Washington Redskins, almost the entire time as a featured back. So what comes next for Morris will be different.
He doesn’t know if he’ll be staying in Washington or leaving for somewhere else.
“I have no idea, this is my first time going through this and I don’t know what to expect,” Morris said during a break at the NFL Business Academy at the University of Michigan on Thursday. “I’m going in blank, not knowing what to expect, not knowing how it’s going to go. Who knows what’s going to happen? I’m excited, but at the same time, I’m kind of like wary.
“Like I don’t know what’s going to happen. Honestly, whatever happens, happens. I just want to be in the best situation possible.”
Morris hasn’t spoken publicly since the team’s wild-card loss to Green Bay and said he believes all options are still on the table for him, including a return to the Redskins. Washington has three backs -- Chris Thompson, Matt Jones and Silas Redd -- under contract for 2016. Morris' role fluctuated with Washington by the week in 2015. Some weeks he was the lead back. Others, he barely received any work at all. He still finished the year as Washington’s top rusher with 751 yards, but he only scored one touchdown.
It’s the first time in his career where he ran for less than 1,000 yards. He’s never missed a game for Washington and had 1,078 carries for 4,713 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns. Morris said he harbors no ill feelings toward Washington even after inconsistent usage last season.
“It was a roller coaster, ups and downs, but there were no hard feelings,” Morris said. “At the end of the day, this is a business. I think a lot of guys, they are mistaken and they are above what this business is, that it’ll never happen to me. Well, no, you probably the one that it’s going to happen to the fastest, you know. It’s what it is. I accepted that early on and guys told me that early.
“So I know what I’m getting myself into. I know what to expect and if I don’t go back, I’m not going to be upset. I get to still play out my dream somewhere else, I hope so. Like I said, I don’t know. There’s no hard feelings. I love and enjoyed the four years I have spent so far in Washington and if I go back, great, I continue to build on all the things that happened, the ups and downs, riding the waves.
“It was, at the end of the day, I still had fun and enjoyed the people I met and the opportunities I had and I’m always going to be thankful to the organization from the owner, Mr. Snyder, all the way down to Miss B.J., who works the front desk. I’m always going to be thankful for the time I had there. So, no hard feelings. It’s a business at the end of the day and it’s a possibility I will be gone. There’s a possibility I could stay. Who knows? I don’t know. Only time will tell.”
Morris was drafted by Washington in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. He became a surprising lead rusher as a rookie, gaining 1,613 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns -- second in the NFL in both categories. He was in the top 11 in rushing during each of his first three seasons with the Redskins, although his carries and his yards per attempt dropped each year.
As he waits to find out his future, with Washington or elsewhere, he would love to be a starter. But he also realizes the reality of today’s NFL, where almost every team splits carries and roles are more defined.
“There’s always adaptation,” Morris said. “Like now, I might have to get adapted to a whole new team, a whole new state, a whole new environment, a whole new tax situation, I don’t know. But you always have to adapt and adjust. If it is a dual [back system], it seems like a lot of teams want to go to that, kind of the splitting time.
“Would it be the end of the world? No. Would I still get to do what I love to do? Yes. So I’ll be fine with it. I just adjust and adapt to what I’m acquired to do.”