Nick Saban knows something the Cincinnati Bengals apparently do not. And, no, we’re not talking about winning championships. We’re talking about former Crimson Tide QB AJ McCarron.
The Alabama head coach made a guest radio appearance on SiriusXM on Tuesday, and he was asked about the status of his former starting quarterback.
McCarron, who filled in admirably for Bengals starter Andy Dalton after an injury in the 2016 NFL season, has been a hot trade topic in NFL circles. Since being selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, McCarron has never really received an extended chance to prove his value as a NFL starter.
While NFL executives may have questions about the long-term viability of McCarron under center at the highest level, Saban is sticking by his guy who was a proven championship-caliber quarterback while in Tuscaloosa. After all, he won back-to-back national titles for Crimson Tide in 2011 and 2012 and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2013.
Here’s a snippet of the conversation Saban had with the SiriusXM NFL Radio folks on Tuesday, as transcribed by Duane Rankin of the Montgomery Advertiser:
“I loved AJ,” Saban said. “I always thought he did a great job. He’s a football junkie. He really prepares well for the game. Understands the game well. He’s got a confidence about him that some people might mistake for a little bit of cockiness, but when you get to know him, that’s not the case.”
“Every time he’s had an opportunity to play for the Bengals, he’s, to me, proven that he’s absolutely a starter,” Saban said. “I think he’s one of the guys that probably is a coveted backup player that most people in the league should think that this guy could be a starter for us.”
If nothing happens on the trade front in the coming months, McCarron is likely to return to his reserve role with Bengals to begin the 2017 campaign.
McCarron made headlines earlier this week on a completely unrelated topic, as it was revealed that he’s set to be a co-owner of a Tuscaloosa-based sushi restaurant called “Ajian.”