Last year, it looked as if AJ McCarron was poised to lead the University of Alabama's football team to its third straight BCS National Championship. However, thanks to perhaps one of the most amazing college football plays of all time of all time, Alabama's hopes were crushed with no time left on the clock in the SEC West Division Championship game. Alabama's woes would continue when they were thumped by Oklahoma in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Despite losing back-to-back games to finish his career, though, McCarron was still determined to become an elite quarterback in the NFL.
McCarron's road started when he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. Since that time, however, the bad luck has continued for McCarron.
Tuesday afternoon, McCarron shared with reporters the reason why he has not participated in any of Cincinnati's practices in the off-season and also why we should not expect to see him in any preseason games. McCarron personally feels fine and ready to go, but his coaches feel otherwise.
"Mr. Brown and Coach Lewis just want to give me a lot of rest. I'm just doing what they say," stated McCarron.
— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) August 6, 2014
Accepting his role on the sidelines will be hard for McCarron, who was the starting quarterback for Alabama his last three seasons and won back-to-back national championships his sophomore and junior years.
It was perhaps all of this playing time which landed McCarron in his current predicament, however: "It was probably a number of things. If you've thrown your whole life, you're going to eventually have a sore arm at some point... I always play through injury. That's what I wanted to do. I was out there with my friends and teammates, the team needed me and I wasn't going to come out. It probably wasn't the best for (the shoulder). That's just what I wanted to do. Nobody made me go out there."
When McCarron reported to the Bengals camp in May, he informed the team of tightness in his shoulder. This tightness caused the former Alabama quarterback to miss the beginning of Bengals organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp. It also led to McCarron being placed on the active non-football injury list.
McCarron was able to practice during the spring practice session, but has not seen any time on the practice field since mid-June. Instead, McCarron has spent time in a separate field throwing with head team trainer Nick Cosgray. McCarron's routine starts with him throwing passes of about 7 yards, with the distance stretching ten more yards with each complete series of passes. At the moment, McCarron is throwing passes of 55 to 65 yards with no issues, only adding to the frustration of not competing:
The frustrating part is because you're a competitor and you want to compete. But other than that, again, it's Mr. Brown and Coach Lewis' call. Whatever they tell me to do, I'm just trying to do it to the best of my ability and then show them that I'll do whatever. When my time comes, my time comes.
Cincinnati will start the preseason in Kansas City against the Chiefs tomorrow. Starting quarterback Andy Dalton, who just signed a massive deal with the Bengals, will have one to two series under center before passing the reins to current backup quarterback Jason Campbell.
This Andy Dalton deal for 6-Year/$115M can only mean one thing, AJ McCarron will do a solid job for the SEC Network in about 3 years.
— Auburn Jokes™ (@AuburnJokes) August 4, 2014
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