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Getty Kiko Alonso #50 of the Buffalo Bills warms up for play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers December 8, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

After it looked like former Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso was making his prodigal return to the NFL, the team’s former second-round pick from the 2013 Draft has decided to hang up his cleats for good.

On August 4, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport revealed that after not playing for two years, Alonso was headed back to the Saints. “Alonso worked out for New Orleans this morning and is expected to sign, source said,” Rapoport tweeted. “He hasn’t played since 2019, but is in shape and the Saints will take a shot given his familiarity.”

On August 5, the team announced that they signed the 6-foot-3, 239-pound linebacker, but it seems one practice was enough for the University of Oregon alum.

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WWLTV Sports’ reporter Brooke Kirchofer tweeted on Saturday, August 6, “Alonso has retired, per source. The #Saints brought him in for one training camp practice, after playing the 2019 season in New Orleans. He’s decided to hang it up after 6 seasons in the #NFL.”

Alonso’s career started off strong after the Bills drafted him as their No. 46 overall pick. After signing a four-year, $4.3 million contract as a rookie, earning the title of NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month in September. After starting all 16 games, Alonso finished the season with 159 tackles, four interceptions,four pass deflections, two sacks, and one forced fumble.

Alonso Was Traded to the Eagles In Exchange for LeSean McCoy

GettyLeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills reacts during the first quarter of their preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on August 16, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Unfortunately, Alonso only played one season with the Bills. During his sophomore year, Alonso suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and was ruled out for the rest of the season, a devastating blow considering he had placed second in The AP’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting, per ESPN.

In March 2015, the Bills traded Alonzo to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for superstar running LeSean McCoy. Landing McCoy, who signed a five-year, $40 million contract with Buffalo was a huge boost for the franchise. He finished his first year with the Bills with 203 carries for 895 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, along with 292 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

McCoy absolutely went off during the 2017 NFL season and helped Buffalo end its 17-year playoff drought. “Shady” finished the regular season with 1,138 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference.

Alonso Last Played During the Saints Wild Card Playoff Game in 2019

Kiko Alonso has retired after six seasons in the NFL, per @brookechesney

— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) August 6, 2022

After one season with the Eagles, Alonso spent three years with Miami Dolphins, where he racked up a total of 355 tackles. However, Alonso was traded to the Saints in September 2019 in exchange for linebacker Vince Beigel.

During the Saints’ NFC Wild Card Game loss to the Minnesota Vikings on January 6, Alonso suffered a torn and ACL for the third time in his career. In November 2020, he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers but was ultimately waived by the team after a failed physical.

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Former G-League MVP Looking toward P.J. Tucker as Role Model

Getty Trevelin Queen #9 of the Philadelphia 76ers poses at 76ers Training Complex on September 26, 2022 in Camden, New Jersey.

While many of the more established NBA players can coast through the preseason, there are several players with plenty to prove. This is especially the case with the Philadelphia 76ers as their roster currently holds 17 players and they must cut down to 15 ahead of the regular season. One player on the cusp who may be feeling the pressure is Trevelin Queen. The former undrafted free agent has had a hard path to the NBA and earned every opportunity he has gotten. When speaking with Ky Carlin of SixersWire, Queen pointed to the advice of veteran P.J. Tucker for helping guide him through the process of (hopefully) becoming a full-time NBA player:

Just as far as he got to the league and (Tucker’s) journey. I kinda fit into that. It took a while to get to where he wanted to go and I look at him as a dawg mentality. He’s the same PJ Tucker every time he comes in here. He plays hard the whole game so, hopefully, I can look at that as the way I can fit in. Just play hard all the time,” per Ky Carlin of SixersWire.

Queen’s Journey to the NBA

Attempting to crack the 15-man roster is far from the most difficult challenge that Queen has faced in his life. After having no college offers at the end of his high school career, the scrappy guard got his first opportunity at a community college and even was homeless for a period of time. He also spent time at New Mexico Military Institute before transferring to another community college and eventually earning an opportunity at New Mexico State.

The 6’6″ guard impressed greatly during his time with the Aggies and averaged 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.7 steals in his final season. Queen went undrafted in the 2020 draft but was given an opportunity with the Houston Rockets G-League affiliate. Last season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Queen earned G-League MVP honors. He also led the team to a G-League Title over the Sixers’ affiliate Delaware Blue Coats.

6’6, athletic, and not afraid to attempt 10+ threes in a game. Trevelin Queen’s the exact player Sixer fans have been asking for for years.

Really hope he gets an opportunity here.

— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) July 1, 2022

Queen’s Future with the Sixers

Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, he may be the odd man out on the Sixers roster crunch. During free agency, he was handed a two-year deal worth $3.5 million. However, if Queen is cut prior to the season only $330,000 of this deal is guaranteed. While Paul Reed and Charles Bassey hold smaller cap hits, Reed has almost certainly earned a spot on the roster and there will be two players that need to be moved on from.

The best case scenario for Queen would certainly be a consolidation trade in which the Sixers send out multiple players for a singular rotation piece. This could open up a roster spot and allow him the opportunity. He certainly will be looking to motivate the Sixers to make this type of maneuver with his play in the preseason.

Regardless of how things shake out, Queen has been proven too tough for this to be the end of his journey. If he does not stick with the Sixers this almost certainly will not be his last NBA opportunity. However it shakes out, give Queen credit for soaking up as much knowledge as he can and count on him to leave it all out on the court.

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