SANTA CLARA — 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander's first game with his new team is against his old one.
Alexander, 24, will return to Tampa on Sunday to face the Buccaneers in his San Francisco debut. Although he will suit up against the team that drafted him for the first time, Alexander said there are no sentimental feelings -- at least not yet.
“It’ll be cool,” Alexander said at the 49ers practice facility on Wednesday. “Sentimental? Nah. Just ready to get the job done. There’s nothing else I can really keep saying about it. At the end it’s not going to be all about me so I’m trying to make it all about the team."
Since signing with the 49ers as a free agent this offseason, Alexander has consistently been one of the 49ers defense's most vocal players in practice. Even ahead of a matchup against his former team in Week 1, coach Kyle Shanahan says Alexander's energy level has not waivered.
“I think he’s fired up,” Shanahan said. “He’s fired up every day I’ve ever been around him. I haven’t seen anything different.
“Now that we’re playing Tampa I think it would be hard for him to be more fired up, but I’m sure he’s got some big emotions going back to a place that he’s got a lot of respect for and that I know he enjoyed and I know it will be fun for him. I think it’s a good start for him and hopefully it’ll be successful.”
So far, Alexander has made it a point to bring more energy out of fellow inside linebacker Fred Warner in practice. Like Shanahan, Warner has seen a consistent level of intensity from Alexander.
That hasn't changed ahead of Alexander's Tampa homecoming.
“I know it’s early in the week, but I’m sure as it starts to lead more into it he will start to maybe start feeling some more emotion,” Warner said of his teammate. “But he plays with the same edge every single day. He always comes to work.”
Alexander had a successful run in Tampa. He led the league with 108 solo tackles and tied for third with 145 combined tackles in 2016. Alexander was selected to his first Pro Bowl a year later, but his final season with the Buccaneers ended in injury after he tore his ACL in Week 7.
If Alexander's return to Tampa becomes more emotional as Sunday's season opener nears, he definitely is unlikely to admit it. When asked if it will finally affect him when the 49ers touch down in Tampa this weekend, Alexander had a simple answer.
“No,” Alexander said. “Go out there and get a win. As long as I go out there and do my job, as long as we get the win, it’ll be alright. Ain’t worried about nothing else. Ain’t all about me, it’s about the team. As long as I got my dogs with me, I’m straight. I have people around for me.”