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AJ McCarron on Senior Bowl: 'I don't know if I'm going to play'

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Butch Dill / Associated Press
Alabama QB AJ McCarron said he would wait until after the Sugar Bowl to decide whether he'd play in the Senior Bowl.

Alabama quarterbacks and the Reese's Senior Bowl go together like, well, peanut butter and chocolate.

The last time the Crimson Tide had a senior quarterback, Greg McElroy competed. Before that, it was John Parker Wilson, who was preceded by Brodie Croyle, and so on. So it came as something of a surprise Friday, when Crimson Tide fifth-year senior AJ McCarron hedged when asked if he plans to play in the game, particularly given that he is a Mobile, Ala., native, where the Senior Bowl is annually held at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

2014 Reese's Senior Bowl: Accepted invites
The Reese's Senior Bowl is one of football's premier pre-draft events. NFL Network coverage included Senior Bowl week practices and continued with the game, which will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.

Here is a list of the players who have accepted invitations to participate in the event.

» Official site of the Reese's Senior Bowl

"I don't know if I'm going to play in it," McCarron said upon the Tide's arrival in New Orleans for Sugar Bowl week, according to al.com. "I'm going to wait until after the bowl game to decide. Sit down and see what's best for me."

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout and college quarterback, believes McCarron would benefit from playing.

"I definitely think he should play," Jeremiah said. "It shows he's competitive and eager to stack up against the other top senior quarterbacks. He could build momentum with a solid week in Mobile."

Alabama senior linebacker C.J. Mosley, punter Cody Mandell and wide receiver Kevin Norwood have accepted invitations. Count Norwood among those who will nudge McCarron in the direction of playing.

"I don't know if AJ's going to do it," Norwood said. "I really wish he would, though, so I could have a quarterback there to have the timing and stuff there."

Alabama coach Nick Saban lauded the Senior Bowl as the nation's premier all-star event, but wouldn't judge McCarron's initial unwillingness to commit to playing.

"I also respect the fact that every player has got to make his decision about what he does in terms of his future and where he is in terms of how he wants to represent himself and his future when his career is over at the University of Alabama," Saban said.

For McCarron, the decision comes down to whether he can help his draft position at the event, and even though draft projections on him vary drastically, it's not a given that he could. The game management skills that are one of his greatest assets as a quarterback might be difficult to flash in an all-star setting, where offensive chemistry and rhythm can be difficult to achieve among players who don't know each other practicing together for only a week.

At the same time, McCarron would have an ideal opportunity to dispel the notion that his arm strength is average for the NFL.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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