Saban: Brown will learn from recent arrest
MOBILE, Ala. – Alabama Coach Nick Saban was asked about everything but the players he came to see in his annual visit to the Senior Bowl practice
That’s because the Crimson Tide’s already eventful offseason has seen five players leave early for the NFL, including a surprise departure by injured safety Vinnie Sunseri, a freshman’s arrest, the splashy hire of offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and two transfers.
Plus, the Tide’s two biggest stars – quarterback AJ McCarron and linebacker C.J. Mosley – declined invitations to the Senior Bowl, which will be played Saturday.
Freshman cornerback Tony Brown, a January enrollee, was arrested Saturday night and charged with resisting arrest and failure to obey. Saban did not disclose what his punishment would be but made it clear the incident doesn’t affect Brown’s status with the program. Saban said he has spoken with Brown.
“Look, some people are in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he told reporters. “Some people don’t make good decisions about what they do, what they say. Tony Brown’s a fine young man, we’re glad to have him in the program. We’ll certainly try to use this as a learning experience for him.
“The punishment he receives will be so that he learns not to do something like this in a disrespectful way to somebody in a position of authority who is there to protect us all, which is our police. We’re going to get him to learn from this.”
Alabama had an uncharacteristic ending to the season, dropping two straight games as the program’s bid for a third consecutive national title crashed to a halt.
Tide receiver Kevin Norwood, who’s playing in the Senior Bowl, said “there was a bunch of distractions on the team” last season and players weren’t taking care of “the little things.”
“All that’s going to catch up eventually, and it did,” Norwood said.
The early departures for the NFL draft included top prospects safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and already graduated Adrian Hubbard, who’s able to participate in the Senior Bowl because he has his degree.
Quarterback Luke Del Rio has already transferred to Oregon State while freshman running back Alvin Kamara has also announced on his Twitter page that he’s transferring.
Defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan, generally regarded as a likely mid-round pick, announced that he was skipping his senior season. Sunseri, who missed much of the season with a knee injury, quietly left, too, with no announcement from either him or Alabama.
“My philosophy is very clear to our players,” Saban said. “If you’re a first-round draft pick, we’re very, very supportive of you coming out for the draft because of the business decision, the amount of money.
“But if you’re not one of those guys, we certainly feel that you should come back to school, graduate from school, use your senior year to develop as a player and try to enhance your draft status for the next year. That’s the advice we give to each and every one of our players.”
As for the Senior Bowl, Mosley and McCarron are both Mobile natives.
The linebacker is regarded as a sure first-rounder. McCarron is hoping the combine and pro day will help vault him into the opening round.
“I think every player’s got to make a decision when they leave about what they think is best for their future,” Saban said. “I know because he’s from here, a lot of people would like to see (McCarron) in the game. I think some players when they get finished with the season are tired. I think AJ probably had a tired arm. He certainly did a great job for us.
“Just thought that it might be better for him to rest and get ready for the combine. I’m sure he’s got a lot of good professional people giving him that advice now and he made that decision. I know there’s a lot of people disappointed in that.”
Norwood, a close friend of McCarron, said he wasn’t surprised by the quarterback’s decision.
“I knew his shoulder was hurting at the end of the season,” Norwood said. “He really didn’t participate much in bowl practices. I just knew from the beginning he wasn’t going to come. I wasn’t too worried about it.”