New Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron reportedly was criticized by NFL teams for his attitude during the run-up to the draft, but Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tuesday he had zero issues of that type with his former signal-caller.
"It does surprise me. He was never that way to me," Saban said before a "Crimson Caravan" stop in Montgomery, Ala. "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."
In a post-draft interview on Sirius/XM Radio, McCarron said he "sacrificed a lot to play for Coach Saban and that university."
"A lot of people don't realize I wasn't healthy at Alabama. ... I played through a lot of injuries, and we never leaked it because that's just the way it is," McCarron said.
On Twitter, McCarron later said his comments were misconstrued.
Saban addressed those comments, as well.
"Well, he never said any of those things to me," Saban said. "All I know is he did a great job for us and he was a good leader on our team and a good person. I think sometimes people get characterized in the wrong way. I certainly think this was the case in some ways here. But we all have to be responsible for our own self-determination, too. And evaluate what we did that might have created that."
Before the draft, McCarron said he was told he would go between the 16th and 35th pick; he ended up going in the fifth round, 164th overall, and was the ninth quarterback selected.
"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."
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.