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Packers CB Jaire Alexander did ‘outstanding job’ responding to suspension

A suspension in Week 17 could have been a point of fracture in the relationship between cornerback Jaire Alexander and the Green Bay Packers, but coach Matt LaFleur ended up extremely pleased with the way Alexander responded and is confident the suspension will end up being a good thing for them both long-term.

“I thought he responded, he did an outstanding job,” LaFleur said. “Sometimes, whether if it’s in football or life, sometimes you go through some hardship and you’re better for it. I think Ja could sit here and tell you, as tough as that was, really, on everybody here, I do think our level of communication will be so much clearer and consistent. I think there’s a lot of good that actually ended up coming out of that.”

LaFleur and the Packers suspended Alexander for a must-win Week 17 game against the Minnesota Vikings for conduct detrimental to the team. The week prior in Carolina, Alexander — a Charlotte native — joined the three predetermined captains for the pre-game coin toss without permission and nearly made a costly procedural mistake.

After sitting out the win in Minnesota, Alexander returned and played his best football of the season. In fact, across Weeks 18 and the wildcard and divisional rounds of the playoffs, Alexander was the team’s third-highest graded defensive player at Pro Football Focus. He gave up only five catches in three games, and his interception of Dak Prescott set up a key first-half touchdown during the upset in Dallas.

“It was tough on him, tough on me, tough on our team, but I love how he responded. And that’s life,” LaFleur said. “You’ve got two choices. You can either go in the tank, or you can try and learn and grow and be better for it. I certainly think he’s taken that approach.”

A better relationship between Alexander and LaFleur should ensure the All-Pro cornerback is back in Green Bay for 2024 or beyond. The Packers have major issues to address at cornerback and safety but retaining Alexander ensures the defense has a high-quality perimeter coverage player in place for next season.

Alexander signed a four-year, $84 million extension with the Packers ahead of the 2022 season. He is under contract through the 2026 season. Next year, his cap number rises to almost $24 million.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire