Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban defended his former quarterback AJ McCarron’s recent statements at a Tuesday speaking engagement, and took exception to his being drafted in the fifth round of last weekend’s NFL Draft.
Saban spoke at a Crimson Caravan event in Montgomery, and addressed reports that McCarron had rubbed NFL teams the wrong way during the pre-draft interview process, coming off as arrogant.
“He was never that way to me,” Saban said. “And I think if you ask a lot of teammates, they would probably say the same. I think AJ is a very good person. And regardless of what he said to you and whatever way he sort of left you with an impression, if he could do something to help you, he would be the first one there to do it.”
Saban was asked about McCarron’s comments on SiriusXM, in which the QB said he had played injured at times and had sacrificed a lot to play for Alabama.
“Well, he never said any of those things to me. All I know is he did a great job for us, and he was a good leader on our team and a good person,” Saban said. “I think sometimes people get characterized in the wrong way.”
Saban also took issue with McCarron’s being drafted 164th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, saying that he felt the quarterback that led the Crimson Tide to consecutive national championships should have been taken higher in the draft.
“Well, AJ did a great job for us,” Saban said. “I think that sometimes people don’t evaluate things like I would evaluate things. I think AJ was probably the third or fourth best quarterback in this draft.”
Still, Saban said that it’s not where McCarron starts out, but where he ends up that will be the final word.
“That kind of proves the point that it’s not where you get drafted, it’s what you do with the opportunity when you get there,” Saban said. “And I think AJ has a very good opportunity in Cincinnati.”