Former Alabama Crimson Tide safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is returning to his alma mater as a director of player development on Nick Saban's staff, he revealed on Friday via a virtual press conference.
Clinton-Dix announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday, signing a one-day contract with the Green Bay Packers, the team that selected him 21st overall in the 2014 NFL draft.
"That's where my life is headed: into coaching," Clinton-Dix said. "Helping these kids create great decision making and making the right choices as they get ready to further their career and head to the NFL and other avenues they want to endure after football is over with."
Clinton-Dix played for the Crimson Tide from 2011-13, posting seven interceptions, 15 pass breakups, one forced fumble and 98 tackles in 38 games. He also earned All-America honors in 2013 and helped Alabama win two national titles in 2011 and 2012.
The 30-year-old spent four-and-a-half seasons with the Packers from 2014-18, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2016 and posting 14 interceptions in 71 games (65 starts). The Packers traded him to Washington in the middle of the 2018 season.
Following his brief stint in Washington, Clinton-Dix played for the Bears in 2019 and appeared in two games for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021. He also spent time on the practice squads of the Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.
Clinton-Dix admitted that walking away from the NFL was a tough decision, via Mike Spofford of the team website:
"It was part of this opportunity I had to work back here at Alabama, but also just kind of reading the writing on the wall. Sometimes things don't happen that you want to happen, and you don't get to dictate your future as far as playing ball.
"It was hard. It definitely wasn't easy. I still wanted to work out, still wanted to play ball. But there comes a time in your life where you have to make those decisions, and hopefully it's the right one and you don't look back and think wow, I wish I coulda or wish I woulda. That's kind of where I am in life. I'm grateful."
Clinton-Dix landed the job on Saban's staff during a recent trip back to Alabama's campus to celebrate the Crimson Tide's 10-year anniversary of the 2012 national championship. He had a discussion with one of his former academic advisors that opened the door for him to take the job.
The Florida native is excited to be back with Alabama and even admitted he still does a little backpedaling in practice:
"Being a part of a team is what I feel like is important and being able to help others. I still watch every game on Sunday. I've got my iPad and we get all the games and all the plays, so I still get a chance to watch football, be around football. I have a lot of friends in the NFL as well. I watch all of these guys each and every week, and it feels like I'm still part of them and part of the game without all the meetings and all the practicing and stuff."
The Crimson Tide finished the 2022 season with a 11-2 record following their 45-20 win over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on Saturday. They'll be looking to get back to the College Football Playoff in 2023.