NEW ORLEANS -- If Alabama All-Americans Landon Collins and Amari Cooper are thinking about the NFL, they're most definitely not talking about it.
Not two days before a College Football Playoff semifinal against Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, and certainly not with a potential national championship game looming 11 days later. The two highly-regarded juniors deflected questions Tuesday about whether they plan to enter the 2015 NFL Draft as the Jan. 15 deadline for declaring approaches.
"You've got to know who you're playing with. I'm playing these guys -- these are my brothers," Collins said. "I don't want to let them down in any way by thinking about something that might possibly be in my future. I want to give them my all. If I have the chance to leave, I want to leave with these rings before anything."
Cooper was mum on the subject as well, conceding only that he wouldn't mind playing for the Miami Dolphins one day -- his favorite team growing up as a youngster in Miami. Yet, even UA offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has all but written off any hope of Cooper returning after winning the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver. And he doesn't see junior running back T.J. Yeldon returning, either.
"Who are going to be the next guys up because we're going to lose the all-time leading receiver in the history of the school and what may be after this game, the all-time leading rusher (Yeldon) in the history of the school," Kiffin said earlier this week. "I think he's getting ready to break that (record), and quarterback (senior Blake Sims), whose had the most productive year in the history of the school, and we're going to lose them all at the same time."
Yeldon? Not so forthcoming: "I don't pay any attention to the NFL thing, I just have been focusing on team and doing what's best for us to win the game."