TAMPA — **Dominique Alexander has been here before.
Before he was a star and three-year starter at Oklahoma, the Browns rookie linebacker was a three-star recruit out of Tulsa and came to school without the weight of expectations.
Alexander quickly flipped that narrative upside down within months of arriving on campus. He was named the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and left the Sooners as a two-time all-conference selection and one of the most productive players in program history.
So it's fitting that Alexander — who joined Cleveland's roster as an undrafted free agent this past spring — has approached the task of earning a spot on the 53-man roster with confidence and a workmanlike attitude.
"I was expecting to get drafted and things like that, but it's not my first time being in this position," he said Tuesday. "I feel like God put me in this position and, like I said, it's nothing that I've never done before so it's one of those things where you have to go out there and work hard every single day.
"But you have that chip, I always remember that chip like I wasn't drafted. It just makes me go harder every day in the film room, on the field and just in the weight room and everything."
So far, Alexander has made good on that mentality. And Tuesday, he continued what's been an impressive training camp, notching an acrobatic interception in drills against the Buccaneers that was met with oohs and ahhs by the crowd in attendance.
"It just goes to show that with good coaching and if you listen and be in the right place at the right time, good things will happen for you," Alexander said, adding, "I've just been trying to do my job, you know, and just take coaching every day in film and in meetings and things like that because there's always things you can correct. I just try not to make the same mistakes twice on a day in day out basis, and I think that's been working for me pretty good."
Tuesday was the team's first joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Indeed, Alexander has caught the eye of his teammates and the coaching staff, including head coach Hue Jackson.
"He's done well. He can run, I think we all know that," he said. "He's shown that he will tackle. He's been a valuable asset on special teams. Again, he has ability. We're glad he's here."
Those are two things Alexander — who is running with the second-team defense and as a starter on special teams — has especially taken to heart as the Browns prepare for Friday's third preseason game.
"He's a hitter. He's a hitter and he makes sure that he lets people know that in practice and coming up and making big plays and making noise," cornerback Joe Haden said. "That's one thing that you need as a linebacker is he's not afraid of that at all."
Perhaps on special teams, though, is where Alexander has shined the most lately.
"That's everything," he said, smiling. "I know that's going to be the thing that gets me in the door to the NFL if it's for the Browns or anybody else. I know the special teams are going to be my way in the door and I know I've got to keep working."
Alexander added: "The same way I approach defense — there's a chip on my shoulder there — is the same way I approach special teams."
And so far, it's all paying dividends for the rookie from Oklahoma.
After all, he's been in this kind of situation before.