After claiming throughout the pre-draft process that he would be a first- or second-round pick, former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was rightfully shocked to hear his name called in the fifth round of the NFL draft, when he was selected No. 164 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.
In trying to reconcile why he fell—why his two national championships as a starter did not equal a higher selection—McCarron went on SiriusXM NFL Radio this past weekend and explained that, unbeknownst to most, he was injured for much of his time at Alabama.
Here is a short transcription of what he said, per Bengals.com:
A lot of people don't realize I wasn't healthy at Alabama. I sacrificed a lot to play for coach Saban and that university; I played through a lot of injuries and we never leaked it because that's just the way it is. I just always tried to fight through for my teammates, my team and the University of Alabama but as of now I'm just excited to get to work with coach (Ken) Zampese and learn under Andy Dalton.
It's been a weird week for McCarron, who was hitherto known as a humble, consummate leader. In some circles, he maintains that reputation. Off-field matters and intangibles were supposed to help his draft stock more than they hurt it.
But ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that McCarron "rubbed (teams) the wrong way" during the interview process, per Michael Casagrande of AL.com, and, likewise, the public has taken these most recent comments the wrong way.
Enough so that McCarron went on a tirade of sorts on Twitter:
I never said I didn't love my time at Bama I said myself & other guys played through a lot of injuries for our great university & for fans..— AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) May 12, 2014
People need to understand I wasn't bashing anybody at all or coach. He's like a dad to me all I was saying was us as players give a lot so— AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) May 12, 2014
To hear people make up rumors ab you that aren't true. That's what sucks when you sacrificed so much for your team & university while there!— AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) May 12, 2014
Y'all stop reading so much into this media bull.. I love Bama & always will. Roll Tide for life. Love my fans and ex-teammates/brothers #RTR— AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) May 12, 2014
Part of what McCarron is saying makes sense.
It didn't seem like he was throwing anybody under the bus at Alabama. He wasn't saying Saban forced him to play through injuries or that he wasn't happy to do it. He was, and it worked out well.
What he was doing was offering a defense for why his game tape might not have been perceived like he thought it would—why his stock slipped all the way down to the fifth round. Depending on how you look at it, he may have made things worse by opening his mouth. The way he said it, it came off more like an excuse than a defense.
And no one likes a quarterback who makes excuses.
Which led Mark Ennis of SB Nation to tweet the following:
Maybe AJ McCarron should take a timeout from public statements.— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) May 12, 2014
Agreed. Perhaps he should try to keep a lower profile.
But with a televised wedding to WAG-turned-celebrity Katherine Webb in the works, that might be easier said than done.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT