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Lorenzo Alexander made his mark with the Arizona Cardinals before going down with an injury in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints. And before joining the Cardinals, he excelled on the field enough to be a Pro Bowl selection in 2012.

But it's the mark he's made off the field that may be even more important.

As Phil Jensen of the Contra Costa Times reports, Alexander's ACES Foundation has been helping young people in the Oakland are and Washington D.C. since 2008.

On Saturday, Alexander hosted a celebrity bowling fundraiser at Albany Bowl for the foundation, the mission statement for which is to "support youth through emphasizing self Accountability, taking pride in our Community, striving for Educational excellence while promoting a healthy mind and body through Sports." Its programs include tutoring, SAT preparation, helping youth make financial decisions and "real talk" workshops where professionals in fields such as medicine, law and finance provide youth with information.

"I grew up (in Oakland), born and raised. I felt the obligation to give back. My experiences with people helped me out ... and now that I have the opportunity to serve the community, I want to do the same thing," Alexander said.

The 30-year-old linebacker goes on to talk about how his goal is to get to the kids early enough in their lives to be able to make a positive impact.

And he has, as evidenced by his being the Redskins' nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award after the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

"The things he is doing now are the things I would have liked him to do. When his nonprofit started, it was a big deal for me because it was about helping his community out," said Steve Moore, Alexander's uncle who was a father figure to him during his youth.

"At the end of the day, I really enjoy helping people," Alexander said. "It's something I really want to do as my life's work."

Character Counts,

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