Simpson Arrest Troubling

Unlike many Alabama fans (myself included), Mike Shula never made a snide remark or off-color joke at the expense of another school's football program, even when given a perfect opening, regarding an off-field incident with a rival.

Instead, he took the opportunity to say that he was only worried about his players, and that he was only concerned that they do the right things on and off the field. He knew such incidents happen everywhere.

Aside from those remarks he has rarely publicly discussed discipline. The suspension of DJ Hall and Chris Keys for the Cotton Bowl was acknowledged post-game, and suspensions of four players for the 2005 season opener were distributed to media in the press box just before kickoff.

Mike Shula always showed concerns that his players avoid situations that could bring about trouble, but he didn't expect Juwan Simpson to be involved in any of them. No one did. Simpson was given the Derrick Thomas Community Service award this past spring, and he was considered to be an all-around good guy with an engaging personality and intriguing personal story. He was slated to be on the cover of the ‘BAMA 2006 Yearbook.

But Simpson, according to report in Sunday's Birmingham News and picked up by the Associated Press and others, was arrested Saturday by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and charged with receiving stolen property, possession of marijuana and carrying a pistol without a license.

He was booked and freed from the Bessemer jail after posting a $7,000 bond.

According to AP, Randy Christian of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said Simpson was arrested Saturday night by the office's Violent Crimes Task Force after a task force officer conducted a traffic stop in which Simpson was the driver.

Christian said Simpson's vehicle was stopped on I-59 near Bessemer heading toward Tuscaloosa. During a search of the vehicle a drug-sniffing dog indicated drugs were present and a vehicle search revealed a small bag of what is believed marijuana, and a pistol that had been reported stolen in Decatur.

There was a passenger in the vehicle not affiliated with UA athletics, the report said.

It's nearly impossible to reconcile the charges the police made against Simpson with the person Juwan Simpson has been day in and day out for the last four years. It's something that will take time to round into form. What it will do to Alabama's defense, should Simpson be kicked off the team, is a very real concern to be addressed later, too.

Simpson's arrest is the second known arrest this year involving a member of the Crimson Tide football team. Grayshirt signee Travis Sikes was arrested on February 11. He practiced during the spring and his arrest was never acknowledged nor was any discipline made public by Shula.

Quarterback John Parker Wilson missed a game and worked with the scout team after his DUI arrest October 16. Safety Marcus Carter missed the 2005 season opener against Middle Tennessee after his May 28 arrest for underage possession of alcohol.

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