It's no surprise when a college coach stands up for one of his draft prospects, but Nick Saban was more than game to go to the mat on Wednesday for Reuben Foster, who was sent home early from the NFL Scouting Combine last week.
The Alabama linebacker, who's considered one of the draft's top talents, got into a heated argument with a hospital worker after he grew tired of a wait during the medical evaluation portion of the combine and was asked to leave after the incident.
Foster met with NFL teams Tuesday night, the eve of Alabama's pro day, to explain what happened. Saban met with reporters on Wednesday during the pro day and offered a vigorous defense of Foster.
"Reuben's been a great player for us here. We've never had any issues with Reuben. If anybody here asked someone eight or 10 times, 'Am I in the right place? Is my name on the list? Why have I had to stay here for so long?' and nobody will respond to you, I think it would probably create a little anxiety for all of us. I know Reuben wishes he'd have responded in a more positive way, but I think other people could have responded to him a little more respectful, as well.
"Anybody that thinks what happened in Indy should affect this guy's future in the draft is being very short-sighted. He's played here four years, we've never had an issue with him. He's always been a great leader and signal-caller on defense. He's bright and has always been a great team guy and really well-liked by his teammates. If you're looking for a good teammate to be on your team, Reuben is going to be very, very good. If you're looking for somebody to be a candy-striper and be nice to everybody at the hospital, maybe not."
Yes, it seems as though this was an isolated incident and that it probably soon be forgotten, as far as NFL teams are concerned. NFL teams that met with Foster on Tuesday told NFL Network's Charley Casserly that after hearing from Foster about the incident, it will not affect his draft grade.
Foster did not work out at UA pro day on Wednesday, and he was not expected to work out at the combine as he recovers from shoulder surgery. The next big question for him is whether he'll work out for teams prior to the draft.