Deaderick Return Is A Big Story

The things you learn in this job. Alabama defensive end Brandon Deaderick showed up in the media room of the Mal Moore Athletic Building following practice Wednesday night. It was the first time he has met with reporters since he was shot by a would-be robber on Monday before the Crimson Tide's season-opening game.

Brandon Deaderick has always been cooperative with reporters and is one of the favorites of those who cover the Alabama football beat. He is polite and gives well-thought-out answers to questions (some of which aren't so well thought out). And he is a fine football player, a three-year starter at defensive end for Coach Nick Saban.

To be honest, it is a little awkward getting started when you are interviewing someone who has been shot. To be sure, Deaderick was the innocent victim, but sportswriters aren't accustomed to the violent crime scene beat.

Deaderick was shot while in the parking lot of an off-campus apartment complex. And while most reports now say the shot that went through his left arm and into his left hip was "non-life-threatening), those reports are written by people who have not been shot.

Deaderick said the wound is healing nicely, that the hole in his arm has nearly closed up. He said he should be able to remove the protective sleeve he wears in "two or three weeks."

The most painful part of the ordeal is keeping the wound clean, a procedure with alcohol swabs several times a day. "That hurts more than when I got shot," he said. He finally shaved his arm because of the additional pain of the bandage coming off for each cleaning and taking a hunk of hair each time.

Deaderick showed up at practice for a few minutes on Tuesday, September 1, after being released from the hospital. At the time he said he was very tired from the ordeal. But this week he remembered how much he appreciated seeing his teammates give him a "thumbs up" when he made his way to the practice field.

He told Coach Saban that he would be back to practice on Thursday, two days before the season-opener against Virginia Tech. He made it back a day early, on Wednesday, less than 48 hours after having been shot.

Saban said later he tried to think of some way to not play Deaderick against Virginia Tech, but the doctors told the coach there was no danger of more damage. And Deaderick had done everything to earn playing time in the game.

Now Deaderick is back working at his defensive end spot, which he shares with Marcell Dareus. "I don't worry about who starts," Deaderick said. "If you start and play 30 plays or you come in as a back-up and play 40 plays, what matters is what you do with your opportunities.

"Our job is to pressure the quarterback. We're doing a good job against the run and we need to get to the quarterback.

"As for me, I just want to be out there playing. That's what I love to do."

This week Deaderick and his Alabama teammates play North Texas. Kickoff in Bryant-Denny Stadium will be at 11:20 a.m. CDT Saturday.

Looking back, Deaderick said, "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time." He said someone heard what had happened on a police scanner and spread the word to his teammates. "Some of them were waiting for me when the ambulance got me to the emergency room," he said. "I really appreciate all the concern about me."

Deaderick said he has not talked to police investigators "in a while. If they find him, they find him. I hope they find him, but it doesn't really affect me that much."

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