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Arizona Cardinals guard Alex Boone talks baby rhinos, family and battle with drinking

Outside the huddle with ... Alex Boone Each week, azcentral sports NFL writer Bob McManaman spotlights a member of the Cardinals for a series of on-the-spot, off-beat questions. This week: Alex Boone, guard.

Question: So I hear you’re not only a huge fan of animals, but I don’t think there is another NFL player out there who has a baby black rhino named after him like you do at the San Francisco Zoo. That’s true, right?

Answer: There is actually nobody else in the world that can say that. You’re welcome.

Q: Have you actually seen this alleged rhino?

A: Yeah. I petted him. My kids petted him. I got to hold him. We’re boys, man.

Q: OK, Mr. Animal Lover, how many pets do you have?

A: None. I have three kids.

Q: Well, they’re kind of like …

A: Yeah, I have three animals.

Q: I’m sure they’re great kids …

A: No, they’re hellions.

Q: Speaking of animals, you’ve never been afraid to speak your mind, have you?

A: Never.

Q: You’ve called out some of the Cardinals in the past, including Patrick Peterson. You’ve called out Colin Kaepernick and Terrell Pryor. Am I leaving anybody out?

A: I don’t think so.

Q: No wait, the commissioner, referees?

A: They had it coming.

Arizona Cardinals guard Alex Boone (75) during practice

Arizona Cardinals guard Alex Boone (75) during practice on Thursday, Sep. 7, 2017 in Tempe, AZ. (Photo: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
Q: Do you still feel the same way about Kaepernick – that he was completely disrespectful to the American flag by refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem in games last season? Or are you ready to move on from that?

A: I’m ready to move on. It’s whatever at this point. He could have handled it so many ways, but it’s over so just let it go.

Q: I’m told you spoke to a bunch of young people on the Gila River Indian Reservation recently in Sacaton, Arizona, about the dangers of drinking. The counselors there and law enforcement said you did more in a 45-minute chat with those youngsters than they could do in a year. How did that come about?


A: It was actually last offseason. I always train here in the offseason so I was out here and one of the Vikings’ directors of player development, Les Pico, called me and said, "Can you come out to this Indian reservation and talk with them?" and I said sure. I went there and spoke for maybe an hour, two hours, and I think there’s a lot of demons that people don’t know about me that I kind of keep quiet, but when asked about them, I’ll be honest to people. And I think sometimes when people see a professional athlete or somebody that’s kind of in the spotlight now and then, and they’re open and they’re honest and the tell you about their flaws and what they’ve done wrong, I think people kind of gravitate towards that and are like, "You know, I don’t have to be afraid."

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Q: You had an issue with alcohol?

A: Yes.

Q: You kicked its ass?

A: (Laughs) Yeah.

Q: But you needed to reach for help, didn’t you? And there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?

A: Yeah, I mean I think that’s the one thing that people forget is that you have to reach out for help and now that I get older, I’m stubborn in my ways. I enjoy sobriety so I don’t really need a lot of people to help me with it. I have my kids; they keep me grounded. Plus, my wife would probably kick the s—t out of me if I ever touched another drink. She’s pretty scary.

Q: Is it an easy road to recovery for those who are still dealing with the demons?

A: No. I mean, every day is a tough day. That’s the one thing. People are so – I don’t know what the word is and I’ve always kind of wondered what the word would be – but people kind of run from it. They go, "It’s not hard. It’s easy." It’s not easy. ... You’re not fine. We get it. And I’m not fine, either. Who cares? Let it go, let’s help each other and let’s move on.



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