The Eagles’ newest linebacker stormed into his new team in emphatic fashion on Monday night, making this emphatic catch..but he didn’t always look this impressive.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 15, 2015
In fact, his early years as a football player were filled with problems both on and off the field. This is the story of a man who started with nothing and turned it into everything.
Kiko Alonso draws attention on the field as a unique talent. But early on in his life he was drawing attention off the field as a criminal. Luckily with some guidance and help, this outstanding talent made the right changes and choices turning his life around and being able to star on Sundays.
It wasn’t always easy for Kiko who is of Hispanic descent. His mother was born in Columbia his father was born in Cuba and raised in Puerto Rico. Alonso himself was born in Massachusetts and raised in California. Kiko attended high school in California staring in football and being recruited by Oregon and Utah respectively. Ultimately he choose Oregon in 2008, in which he redshirted. In 2009 he played in 12 games in a reserve role. Having too much time on his hands, 2010 came and Kiko found himself getting into trouble off the field. On February 19th 2010, Alonso was arrested and charged with DUI. Then coach Chip Kelly suspended Kiko for the entire year.
Kiko was given another chance to be on the team in 2011, but he was arrested again in May that year for Burglary, Criminal Trespassing and Mischief. The charges stemmed from a burglary attempt on a female victim who reported Alonso, who is 6 ft 3⅜ in 245 pounds and runs a 4.74 s 40, banged on her door and demanded to let him in to her home. The woman called 911, and Alonso smashed down her door and entered her home. He was also found to be intoxicated from alcohol at the scene. Nothing was reportedly missing from the woman’s house which lead to further speculation if this was a serious attempt of robbery or another public intoxication act of Alonso. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to probation, community service, and alcohol abuse counselling. His guilty plea allowed him to avoid going to jail. This was were Kiko had to make a life choice, continue down the same path, or try to be something great. Kiko started to turn his life around and gave up drinking.
Despite calls from the local team supporters to kick Kiko off of the team, he was then given a third chance by Kelly, being re-instated to the Ducks football team in early September 2011 after completing over 200 hours of community service and the alcoholic awareness program.
He returned the following season and was Oregon’s eighth-leading tackler ranked fourth among linebackers with 46 stops, including 6 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He was also named the 2012 Rose Bowl Defensive Player of the Game with one interception and five tackles, including career-highs of 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. In his final season, he started in all 13 games and earned second team all-conference honors. He recorded 87 total tackles (62 solo, 25 assisted), including 16 tackles for loss, a sack, four interceptions, seven pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
Due to his exceptional skills and his decorative college career Alonso was invited to the NFL Combine and performed very well finishing with a 4.71 40 time and finishing high in many other drills. In the 2013 NFL draft the Buffalo Bills selected Alonso with the 43rd Pick in the draft. Alonso signed with Buffalo for 4 years and in his rookie season recorded 165 tackles, 5 Int’s, 2 Sacks and 1 Forced Fumble. He was so good that he was later named Defensive Rookie of the year.
In offseason workouts in Oregon his alma mater, he sustained an ACL tear and was forced to miss the 2014 season. In the spring of 2014 the Eagles made a trade with the Buffalo Bills to acquire the rights to Kiko for LeSean McCoy, the teams all time leading rusher. Chip Kelly knew the struggles of Alonso more than anyone, but he also saw what kind of a star he could become. If he didn’t then the former Duck would not have been gifted so many chances by a coach who now has a reputation to be ruthless. Kelly knew exactly what he was doing when trading for the Buffalo’s linebacker.
Kiko was a coveted talent and plugged into an already talented Linebacking core. In his first game for the Eagles, Kiko backed what Chip already knew, making an amazing 1 handed body tilting interception in the end zone for the Eagles paying immediate dividends on there investment. His future seems bright and he’s being coached by a man who has seen both his rises and falls. It’s the perfect environment for Alonso to develop…I think he chose the right path to go down.
Alonso started in a troubled place, lost and going down a road he didn’t want to be on? How does this embody everything Philadelphia represents? With every fall..we will rise. Alonso gave it everything to get to where he is now after a history of bad decisions. He plays with heart, with passion and with love. Everything that a Philadelphia Eagles fan should represent when screaming the fight song at the top of their lungs. It’s that fighting mentality that saw stars like Brian Dawkins rise among the all time greats..and it’s the same mentality that lies in the mind of every Eagles fan on a Sunday night.