Deaderick Lifts Tide With Comeback

It often seems like "Days Of Our Lives" around University of Alabama athletics, and particularly football with one soap opera drama after another stealing the scene. But last week there was a hint of "Law & Order" when Crimson Tide senior defensive end Brandon Deaderick was shot in a would-be robbery attempt.



This story looks as though it may have a Hollywood ending.

Early in the first quarter against Virginia Tech, Brandon Deaderick made his way onto the artificial surface in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Alabama's senior defensive end was able to play in the Crimson Tide's season-opening game. Deaderick, who started 14 games last season and has 21 career starts, would not have been expected to play after being shot on Monday of game week.

As has been reported, Deaderick and his girlfriend had just arrived in the parking lot of an off-campus apartment complex when a man with a gun approached with the intent of robbing the couple. Alabama Coach Nick Saban indicated the robber wanted the automobile, which belongs to Deaderick's girlfriend. He wouldn't be the first young man who made a bad decision where a woman was concerned. Deaderick resisted the robber and was shot.

The wound was not life-threatening.

Still...

The bullet went through his arm, ricocheted to his hip, and exited his thigh. It went through-and-out twice and did not hit bone or artery.

On Wednesday, Deaderick was back on the practice field in a limited capacity. And on Saturday, Saban said he had tried every way he could think to not play Deaderick, but since he had been cleared by doctors and had done all he could do to get on the field, Saban relented.

Deaderick didn't have a big game statistically, making one tackle, but he had an impact psychologically for his teammates as they got the season started with a 34-14 win over seventh-ranked Virginia Tech.

Deaderick, 6-4, 306, is a senior from Elizabethtown, Ky. He was redshirted as a true freshman in 2005, saw action in a handful of games in 2006, became a regular in 2007 with seven starts, and started every game last season.

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy said Deaderick was an inspiration. McElroy said, "When I was getting hit and not feeling too good, I looked over at Brandon and thought, ‘He got shot and he's playing!' It gave us an extra energy burst in the fourth quarter."

Linebacker Cory Reamer called Deaderick's quick return to the field "impressive."

Reamer said, "Man, anybody who plays with three holes in their body like that and has been shot, it's impressive. I don't know how he did it. He came back, I think the second day after it happened, and was out there practicing and getting some extra reps. For him to go through what he did, it takes a lot of courage. You've got to respect a guy like that. The great thing about it is that he's got a new perspective on life, and really is not taking for granted what he has an opportunity to do. He has really gone out and taken advantage of every day that he has. It really changes things around for him."

Lorenzo Washington lines up at left end opposite Deaderick on the right side. "He did pretty good," Washington said. "You have to give him all the credit. He had to come back mentally and physically.

"It was amazing."

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