Britt and Bates Named Captains

As their names were called out one by one, Wesley Britt and Todd Bates sprung to the front of the stretching line to thunderous applause of their teammates Wednesday afternoon. The two were named Alabama's permanent captains for the 2004 season, an honor considered the highest a player can receive since it is voted on by their fellow teammates.

Todd Bates and Wesley Britt will be enshrined into Bama football history, their hand and cleat prints embedded into cement next to Alabama's past captains.

"It's a big honor. I've seen guys get that honor since I've been here my freshman year and I only dreamed of getting that same honor," Bates said. "The dream seemed like it dimmed a little bit after I got into the trouble that I got into. It's just unbelievable, man."

Bates had a well-documented incident in which he was forced to miss his entire junior season, without the ability to redshirt, after testing positive for the banned substance ephedra he took in an over-the-counter product.

Bates toiled on the scout team in 2003 preparing the offensive starters for the week's game, earning his teammates and coaches respect. In 2004 Bates started every game at left defensive end and played a total of 420 snaps, recording 42 tackles and eight stops behind the line of scrimmage.

"I cherish the moment today when Coach Shula called my name and said I had been elected captain by my teammates, by my peers," Bates said. "I've worked that hard to try to set a positive example for the younger guys around me. I tried to do the best job I could do, and those guys are going to be great, too."

Britt and Bates could also have both been elected as their team's comeback player of the year. Britt recovered from a broken leg suffered in 2003 and also started every game in 2004. He was a first-team All-SEC selection, but he said being named captain tops all other honors.

"It's one of the highest honors - higher above any of the honors I've received here at Alabama," Britt said. "I feel very special that my teammates picked me and voted on this award. I'm going to be able to put my hands and feet in the cement, in the record books with people like Joe Namath, Bart Starr, all the greats at Alabama, Shaun Alexander, Chris Samuels, John Hannah, all those names. I'll be in the cement with them. It's an amazing thing."

Shula said the captains, which were voted on Wednesday morning, were appropriate choices.

"It's neat to see. They're leaders," Shula said. "They led by example this year during the games, before the games, after the games and during practice. That to me is the most important. They led not with anything other than their own personality."

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