Packers suspend cornerback Jaire Alexander for gate-crashing coin toss

Video jaire alexander face

The Green Bay Packers suspended cornerback Jaire Alexander for one game on Wednesday for conduct detrimental to the team stemming from his coin-toss blunder last week that nearly cost the club a possession.

Alexander will miss Green Bay’s game against the host Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

“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,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said in a statement on Wednesday. “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. We look forward to welcoming him back next week as he is a valued member of this team and will continue to be in the future.”

The incident occurred at the outset of the Packers’ narrow 33-30 win over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. Alexander, who was not a designated game captain, joined the coin toss at midfield anyway, correctly called tails but didn’t say “defer” when asked by referee Alex Kemp.

“I said, ‘I want our defense to be out there,’ and they all looked at me like I was crazy,” Alexander said afterward. “I’m like, I mean it’s pretty simple what I said, like I want the defense to be out there. They like, ‘You mean defer?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I guess.’”

Had Kemp not double-checked on Alexander’s intent, the Panthers would have received the first and second-half kick-offs.

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“That was a big mistake,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of Alexander’s call. “That’s something that you review with the guys before they go out there every time about, ‘Hey, we win the toss, we’re going to defer.’ I went to the officials before the game, made sure they knew what we were going to do. We had an incident earlier this year where we had a similar situation, so always trying to be proactive in that approach.”

The Packers, who choose captains week-to-week instead of designating season-long captains, had their three game captains out there and Alexander wasn’t one of them. Neither LaFleur nor Alexander said whether permission was asked or granted to be out there for the coin toss. “I don’t think Coach knew I was from Charlotte,” Alexander said. “It was, I mean, the guys backed me up. They knew I was from here.”

Alexander is a two-time Pro Bowler but he has been hampered by a shoulder injury this season. He has 26 tackles, four pass breakups and a forced fumble in six games (all starts) this season.

Sunday’s game was the first time Alexander had been active since 5 Novemeber, when he sustained a shoulder injury against the Rams. Alexander had been practising but was made inactive on gamedays, leading to speculation that something beyond the injury was keeping him out of the Green Bay lineup.

The Packers (7-8) are still in contention for a wild-card berth. Sunday’s game at Minnesota (7-8) is a must-win.