Nick Saban’s comments following Alabama Pro Day include defense of Reuben Foster

Alabama’s Saban says Foster will be good football teammate, but maybe not a good candy-striper

A feature of Alabama’s Pro Day is Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban spending a few minutes with reporters. After watching the drills of Bama players (standing with New England Coach Bill Belichick and Seattle Coach Pete Carroll), Saban went to bat for linebacker Reuben Foster.
At the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Foster was unable to participate in physical drills as he nurses a shoulder injury. During an examination segment of the combine at a hospital, Foster got into an altercation with a hospital employee. The NFL dismissed Foster from the Combine.
Foster did not participate in Alabama’s Pro Day, but was on hand, and he had met with representatives of several teams prior to Wednesday’s drills in the Tide weight room and in the indoor football facility.
Saban said he had talked to Foster and added that he had never had an issue with Foster at Alabama.

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The coach said, “If anyone here asks someone eight or ten times, ‘Am I in the right place? Is my name on the list? Why have I had to stay here so long?’ And no one responds to you, it will probably create  a little anxiety for all of us. And I know that Reuben wishes he had responded in a little more positive way, but I think other people could have responded a little more respectful to him as well.
“I think anybody that thinks what happened at Indy should affect this guy’s future in the draft is being shortsighted. He played here four years, we never had an issue with him, he’s always been a great leader, he’s a signal caller on defense, he’s bright, and he’s always been a great team guy and really well-liked by his teammates.
“So if you’re looking for a good teammate to be on your team, Reuben is going to be very, very good. If you’re looking for a candy-striper and be nice to everybody at the hospital, maybe not.”
His only comment on Alabama football concerned the addition of Brian Daboll as the Tide’s new offensive coordinator. He said, “Brian’s got a lot of experience. He’s coached 11 years at the (New England) Patriots, has six years as an NFL offensive coordinator, coached with us at Michigan State. He has a lot of knowledge and experience in the pro game, as well as being a very bright guy that can learn some of the things we have done here relative to the spread and do what our players can do here.”
There is some question as to how much value there is in a Pro Day, particularly coming so soon after the Combine.
Saban said, “These players have done a fantastic job for us over the three or four years they have been here, and it benefits them and our program that they do extremely well in times like these so they get the opportunity to play at the next level and gets drafted as high as possible.
{This is] Just an opportunity for a player to work out in a more intimate environment, a more relaxed environment. The combine can be a little bit overwhelming and intimidating in a lot of ways because there is so much going on — interviews, medical tests, and physical tests. Here it’s a little more relaxed.
“We’ll have another pro day on March 29. It gives the players a little more time to prepare. It helps some of our injured guys, like it did Eddie Lacy a few years ago and it will Eddie Jackson this year, that they’ll be more ready to be their old selves relative to overcoming injury.”

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