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Redskins' Alfred Morris' 1991 Mazda gets refurbished, event shows love for running back

12:56 PM, Oct 15, 2013   |    comments
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CHANTILLY, Va. (WUSA) -- It's just after 10 a.m. on Tuesday when Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris strolls up to the Mazda dealership in a 2014 rental. The car company loaned Morris the vehicle while they graciously refurbished his 1991 626 model.

Morris is greeted by close to 50 Mazda employees. Brunch is served on three tables. Nearly a dozen cameras are rolling on the event. ESPN flew in reporter Josina Anderson for a sit down. The NFL Network was on hand. Several auto magazine outlets flocked towards Morris.

After a brief introduction, the folks at Mazda pulled off the black sheet covering Morris' car, unveiling all new features. The engine, windows and dashboard were replaced. 'Bentley' as Morris affectionately calls his car -- which he bought for $2 from his pastor -- also now has GPS navigation, Bluetooth connection and a brand new sound system.

"I got my baby back!" roared Morris to applause and laughter from the crowd. 

As fantastic as a job the Mazda crew put into the car -- 275 hours of manual labor and 450 new parts -- the real story is the growing legend of Alfred Morris.

In terms of superstar running backs, Redskins fans are used to the attention-seeking type. John Riggins was known for his beer drinking, brash commentary towards Supreme Court justices and outrageous locker room shenanigans. Clinton Portis' claims to fame were his flamboyant press conference costumes, his distaste for practice and feuds with short tenured coach Jim Zorn.

Morris, 24, is drastically different than Riggins and Portis. He totes a simple wooden cross necklace, a boyish southern drawl and a contagious laugh heard whistling through the speakers in Chantilly. Morris refuses to buy Nike Jordan brand shoes, because "everyone wears those." Unlike his famous predecessors, Morris has won over the people with his warm persona and willingness to shake everybody's hand. His rags to riches success as a sixth round pick is the cherry on-top. The second-year player has to pinch himself sometimes.

"Who would have ever thought all this could happen? I just be myself each and every day. What you see is what you get," Morris said, analyzing his growing status. "It's not like a hoax or a phony. This is me. This is who I am. I'm down to earth. I'm fun. I'm loose. If you want to have some fun, come hang," he joked.

In a sense, Morris' 1991 Mazda really represents who he is: something that wasn't supposed to last this long.

Entering training camp in 2012, the thought was Morris' only chance to make the roster would be switching his position to fullback. Roy Helu, Evan Royster and back then, Tim Hightower were a typical yet formidable Mike Shanahan trio of overachieving backs. And like his chances of making the 53-man roster, teammates clowned on his car when they first saw it. "'That's you in that piece of crap?'" Morris recalled.

But we all know the fairy tale which unfolded last season, as the Redskins road Morris to an NFC East title.

Ten years from now Morris still plans on driving 'Bentley' around town. "It might not be my primary car, but it will still get driven a lot. That wasn't a joke either," laughed Morris.

Ten years from now it's hard to imagine how big Morris' legacy will be in Washington. It wouldn't be a shock if he one day broke Riggins' franchise rushing record.

Whatever may happen, one thing is clear: Riggins and Portis need to clear some space. Morris and his charm have been cemented into the Washington D.C. community.

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