McCarron Adamant He Earn Way To NY

By now, the college football world knows that AJ McCarron is one of six college football players who have been invited to the Heisman Trophy Award presentation ceremony at the New York Athletic Club. Also known to many is that McCarron has never been to New York. But not until Tuesday did we know of his pledge not to do the tourist thing in the Big Apple, even though he is a "huge Yankees fan."

A.J. McCarron now is excited about going to New York. But the Alabama quarterback had previously decided he would not go "unless I was invited for the Heisman or for (NFL) Draft Day. So one of those dreams came true. It's just a cool moment to be a part of."

McCarron was clear that his pledge not to go to New York was a limited one.

"I only wanted to go if I earned it," he said.

"I was talking from my college era standpoint. Once I got out of college and had my own money, I was going regardless. So I was just talking from the five years I've been in college. I don't want to go unless I've earned it."

McCarron has earned a lot, including the fame to meet and talk to famous members of the New York Yankees.

"It's pretty cool," McCarron said. "Before the Auburn game, I got to talk on the phone with A-Rod (Yankees star Alex Rodriguez). I met Derek Jeter before the LSU game. Coach (Joe) Girardi came and talked to us (one of Coach Nick Saban's pre-season guest lecturers to his squad). It's almost like living in a dream in a way because I've met guys that I've watched and watched coach for so many years. Now I'm talking to them on the phone and meeting them in person."

McCarron explained the A-Rod connection. A member of the staff "somehow got in touch with him. And then they were talking and A-Rod I guess told him he wanted to talk to me. A-Rod, same thing Jeter said, they've watched me throughout my career. Coach Girardi showed them the video of me and Barrett pushing each other (near the end of the Tide's 42-14 win over Notre Dame in the national championship game) last season and told him that's the passion they need within their club again and stuff like that.

"It's just pretty crazy that they've watched me before and are fans of me. Like I said, it's unbelievable."

Speaking of unbelievable, how did McCarron become a Yankees fan?

"Probably because everybody down South and including my family was an Atlanta Braves fan and I wasn't going to be like everybody else. Just like they were all Alabama fans and I wanted to be a Miami Hurricane fan."

One thing McCarron is not a fan of is watching college football.

"Last week was the first time I even watched football and I watched maybe the first half of the Auburn game and right before halftime I turned it off," McCarron said. "I hate watching football, to be honest with you, unless I'm getting ready to play watching filn on somebody. All it does is it really ticks you off and makes you want to go get better, really. I just turned it off and got dragged into Christmas shopping with Katherine (girlfriend Katherine Webb). I spent a lot more time at the mall than I wanted to."

It could have been worse. It could have been in New York, and then he'd have spent a lot more than time than he wanted to.

McCarron did spend some money on himself. "It's going to be cold," he said of his upcoming trip North. "A lot different than what I'm used to. I went out and bought some big jackets."

He's also going to Baltimore to accept the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation's top senior quarterback on Friday. "They supposedly had like five inches of snow on the ground, so I'll have to get used to that.

"I just can't wait. I'm really looking forward to it."

He said the Golden Arm Award "is awesome. It's an honor. I can't thank the Unitas family enough."

McCarron said he has been taking a break from football. "I've been working out and running with the team," he said. "I haven't thrown. I'm going to let my arm catch a rest.

"I've been trying to teach the younger guys, let them get some more reps and get ready for after this season when they're having to battle for a job."

He said he had fallen on his shoulder and sprained it in the Tennessee game, but it's not anything that will require surgery.

McCarron's next playing time will be his final college game when he leads the Crimson Tide against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on January 2.

McCarron hasn't begun looking at Oklahoma film yet, but he knows a lot about Oklahoma the program. In fact, he revealed, he came very close to signing with the Sooners. "So it's just crazy that I'm playing them," he said.

He called it "two great programs. A lot of tradition in those programs. Then you've got two unbelievable coaches that's go down in college football history as two of the best with Coach (Bob) Stoops and Coach (Nick) Saban. It's going to be a great game and really good competition for us."

What was the attraction of Oklahoma to McCarron as a prospect?

"I just liked their football," he said. "And then you had Sam Bradford there, so during recruiting as a 17-, 18-year-old, your mind changes about 20 times a day. At the moment, I guess they were just the hot school that I wanted to go to. I'm pretty sure I probably before that night thought about a bunch of other schools, too."

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