Alabama QB AJ McCarron declines Senior Bowl invite

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron will not participate in the Reese's Senior Bowl, according to McCarron's choice to pass on the all-star game he grew up on in Mobile, Ala., will probably be criticized both locally and nationally -- and for different reasons -- but it was ultimately a business decision.

That's what his father, Tony, essentially said in describing what was a very tough call for his son.

"His agent thought that was best," Tony McCarron told College Football 24/7. "The reason AJ didn't say anything for sure before the bowl game is because he had already decided to put that decision in his agent's hands, but he didn't know who that was going to be yet. But that's the advice he got, and if you're going to pay those people, you've got to trust them. All I can say is, the people who criticize it don't have a thing to lose."

McCarron has hired agent Todd France. Efforts to reach Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage were unsuccessful.

McCarron is a Mobile, Ala., native and grew up well aware of his hometown all-star game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Rosters often include a strong dose of talent from Alabama or Auburn, and Mobile natives such as McCarron are the favorites of local fans. McCarron's absence will break a streak of Senior Bowl quarterbacks who started at Alabama, from Brodie Croyle to John Parker Wilson to Greg McElroy. As such, it wasn't an easy decision for McCarron, a fifth-year senior who is proud of where he came from and has referred to himself as a "DIP kid" (Dauphin Island Parkway), the Mobile area he grew up in.

"I really appreciate being invited to play in the Senior Bowl," McCarron said. "It is quite an honor and something I've dreamed about while growing up in the Mobile area. However, at this time, I'm putting all of my focus and energy into preparing for the NFL Combine, pro day and the rest of the pre-draft evaluation process. Therefore, I won't be taking part in the Senior Bowl."

McCarron had a more pointed response on his Twitter account later Tuesday:

McCarron's decision opens a slot for another quarterback. Five have accepted Senior Bowl invitations, and typically, six are carried (three per squad). Other quarterbacks already committed include Fresno State's Derek Carr, Clemson's Tajh Boyd, San Jose State's David Fales, Miami's Stephen Morris and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas.

Tony McCarron said rumors that his son declined because he needs minor surgery are off base.

"I told a friend of mine, that must've been double-secret surgery, because I don't know anything about it," he said.

As for whether France delivered McCarron the right advice, NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt's reaction included recognition of both perspectives.

"He's proved an awful lot in his career at Alabama and been very successful," Brandt said. "The one thing about going to the Senior Bowl and throwing to receivers you're not familiar with, it sometimes does not bring out the best in you. Obviously, you would like to see him there, you'd like to see him perform under game conditions. But we've seen him over three years under game conditions and how he reacts. The only thing is that he's putting his eggs into one basket now, and that's the Combine."

Brandt added: "Remember, too, that Geno Smith also didn't play in the Senior Bowl last year. So this isn't something that's unusual. It happens."

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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