Wilson Gets Help From Bratkowski

Could it really be, Bart Starr and Zeke Bratkowski back on the football field together? Sort of. Alabama had Pro Day Wednesday, pro scouts from the 32 teams of the National Football League in Tuscaloosa to put a handful of former Crimson Tide players through their paces. And standing together in the middle of Alabama's indoor practice facility were two of the greatest quarterbacks in history.



Bart Starr was a freshman quarterback for Alabama in 1952 when the Tide beat Georgia and its All-America quarterback Zeke Bratkowski. Bama and Starr won again in Bratkowski's senior year, 1953. Both would head to the NFL and Bratkowski eventually joined the Green Bay Packers, where Starr was bigger than a star under Coach Vince Lombardi. Bratkowski was known as Starr's "Super Sub."

Bratkowski had a long NFL playing career and even longer coaching career, 26 years.

Now in his late 70s, Bratkowski still keeps a hand in the game working with men who aspire to be NFL quarterbacks.

Such as Alabama's John Parker Wilson.

"Zeke has done a great job with John Parker Wilson," said Starr, who is still active in business, community, and University of Alabama affairs and a regular at Bama football games. Wilson has been the Tide's starting quarterback the past three years and holds all Alabama passing records.

Wilson said that his agent, Jimmy Sexton (the same Jimmy Sexton who is agent to Alabama Coach Nick Saban, among many others), had set Wilson up with Bratkowski. On Wednesday, Wilson was going through his paces for the NFL scouts.

"He has worked with several NFL quarterbacks, Phil Rivers, Brodie (former Tide quarterback Brodie Croyle), and others," Wilson said. "It has gone great. He's been working with me since the end of the season. He's made suggestions, tweaked a few things in my delivery. It's been good."

The 24-year-old Wilson was asked if he had heard of Bratkowski as a player. "Not before I started working with him," Wilson said.

Bratkowski was on the field with Wilson and his old friend, Starr, stood by him.

In addition to Wilson and the star attraction of the day, offensive lineman Andre Smith, former Alabama players working out for the scouts in the Alabama indoor facility were:

Tight end Nick Walker, tight end Travis McCall, center Antoine Caldwell, offensive guard Marlon Davis, wide receiver Nikita Stover, tailback Glen Coffee, defensive back Rashad Johnson, and defensive end Bobby Greenwood from the 2008 team and wide receiver Matt Caddell from the 2007 Crimson Tide.

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban and several Bama assistant coaches were among those watching the workout, as were a number of Crimson Tide underclassmen.

Caldwell and Johnson were among those who did not run the 40-yard dash for the pro scouts. Both said they had posted good times at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. "I didn't want to take a chance on pulling a hamstring and miss the position drills," said Johnson, who said he posted a 4.49 time in Indianapolis.

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