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NFL Officials Flood Alabama for Pro Day


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey let his impressive work at the NFL Combine speak for itself.

Tight end O.J. Howard kept his momentum going with yet another nice showing before NFL teams.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban, meanwhile, shed some light on the incident that put Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster in a negative light over the weekend in Indianapolis.

It was all part of Alabama's Pro Day, which was well attended by NFL officials.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, and Jets coach Todd Bowles were all in attendance, along with Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert. They were part of a group of roughly 75-80 scouts from all 32 teams, including a nice contingent from the Titans.

"It is a great feeling, to be able to see that I am here now, about to be in the NFL,'' Howard said on Wednesday. "It is like a dream come true, from the time I was a little kid.

"Today I just wanted to come out and run good routes, catch the ball and finish. Just go out and still be smooth and keep checking off boxes."

Howard, who turned in impressive performances at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, ran a 4.51 in Indianapolis, so he opted not to run again here Wednesday. He did catch passes in individual drills, and looked good doing so. Howard caught short to mid-range passes, and showed he could stretch the field. He moved well.

"To find a guy who can do all (the things) O.J. can do," Saban said. "(In O.J., a team would) get a great receiver but also get a guy who can block well. I think he has really done well and represented himself at the combine and these workouts."

Alabama had 10 players invited to the combine, and they were on hand here on Wednesday. The majority of them let their work from a few days earlier stand. Linebacker Ryan Anderson ran the 40, and also took part in drills on the field. He looked good in his movement, displaying strength and athleticism.

But this day was mainly reserved for the seven other players who didn't get invited to the combine to shine. Receivers Gehrig Dieter and ArDarius Stewart ran routes with Howard. At one point, Stewart punished himself for not catching a pass by doing push-ups.

Titans running back Derrick Henry, who won the Heisman Trophy at Alabama, was on hand to watch drills. In addition to Howard, Humphrey, Anderson, Stewart and Foster, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, cornerback Eddie Jackson, lineman Cam Robinson, and linebacker Tim Williams were all combine invitees as well.

After running a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, Humphrey decided not to work out on Wednesday. Humphrey met with a bunch of teams at the NFL Combine, and interacted with scouts and coaches at Pro Day.

"I want teams to know I am a guy that's ready to work,'' Humphrey said.  "I am a physical corner and I see myself being great and I am going to keep working until I am that corner. All the interaction has been good. Every time I walk into a different room and shake the head coach's hand, the GM's hand, I think it is always unreal I am at this opportunity to be able to walk in and show my case on what I feel I should be one of the top corners in this class."

Saban shed some light on the situation surrounding Foster, a potential top-10 pick who reportedly grew frustrated with a long wait for medical exams at the combine and was sent home after getting into a heated argument with a hospital employee.

Saban said he's discussed the situation with Foster.

"Reuben has been a great player for us here,'' Saban said. "We never had issues with Reuben. I think if anyone here asks 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," Saban said. "And I know that Reuben wishes he would have responded maybe in a little more positive way, but I think other people could have responded and been a little more respectful to him as well."

On Tuesday night, Foster met with NFL teams to and answer any questions about the incident.

Saban doesn't think the situation will impact Foster's draft status.

"Anybody who thinks what happened in Indy will affect this guy's future in the draft is being very short-sighted,'' Saban said. "Reuben has played here for four years and we never had issues with him. He's always been a great leader. He's a signal caller on defense. He's bright, and he's always been a great team guy and really well-liked by his teammates. So if you're looking for a good teammate to be on your team, Reuben's going to be very, very good. If you're looking for someone to be a candy striper and to be nice to everyone at the hospital, then maybe not."

Titans GM Jon Robinson, head coach Mike Mularkey make their media rounds at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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