Caldwell to Remain at Alabama for Senior Season

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

TUCSALOOSA, Ala. ?? University of Alabama junior offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell announced today that he will return to the Crimson Tide football team for his senior season. Caldwell, who has already earned his undergraduate degree, made the announcement at a press conference at the Naylor Stone Media Suite on the UA campus.

“I’ve decided that the best decision for me and my family is to stay for my senior season at the University of Alabama.  It was long, hard decision that was thought through with countless prayers, countless nights of conversation with very informed people, very influential people.  I want to say thank you to everybody for that.”

Caldwell said his decision came after many hours of consultation with his parents, Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban and offensive line coach Joe Pendry.

“I felt like staying my senior would give me the best possible chance at the NFL.  It’s still a dream I aspire for and strive for that every day.  I feel like the most important thing is to stay here, get another year to grow, be around influential people like Coach Saban and Coach Pendry that know the business and know the NFL.
 
“The thing that was the most important to me outside of all of that was my teammates.  I feel like the bond we have here is incredible and I don’t want to exchange that for any amount of money.”

Coach Saban was pleased with Caldwell’s decision and called it a victory for college football.

“First of all, we are very pleased and happy that Antoine is going to come back for his senior season. There are several things to be noted here.  I think this is a great victory for college football, in that we have a fine young man, who has tremendous leadership qualities, who thinks of his teammates and the legacy he can create for himself, relative to the institution that he represents.

“I think that’s probably the key thing here, relative to Antoine’s decision.  He can develop as a player another year here with a very good (offensive line coach) and very good staff, so he can actually enhance himself to the NFL and make improvements that will enhance his ability to get drafted higher.  I think the decision really came down to the fact, that in his heart, he wanted to be a part of this team.  He wanted to affect this team. He has been elected captain.  I think he is an outstanding player.  I think that he would achieve tremendous accolades and will achieve tremendous accolades in the future, relative to creating a legacy as not only being a captain but possibly a guy that can make All-American and should make All-American and is a guy that should be recognized in that elite caliber of players as an offensive lineman, center or guard.”

Antoine Caldwell Press Conference Transcript
Monday, January 14, 2008

Opening Statement:
“I just want to thank everyone for being here, especially to the media.  I’ve been pretty much up-front with you guys since I’ve been here, so I wanted to take this opportunity to do this in person.  As you all know, this has probably been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to go through since I’ve been here.  It’s a good decision to have, but it’s also one of the most difficult ones I’ve had to go through.  I’ve had some very, very influential people help me through this whole process.  The people that mean the most to me in my life like my parents who have done a wonderful job through this whole decision and have supported me 110 percent.  I just want to say thank you to Coach (Nick) Saban, Coach (Joe) Pendry and Coach (Willie Carl) Martin.  Through this whole process, Coach Saban, Coach Pendry and Coach Martin came down to my home in Montgomery to talk to me.  I can’t say enough about how fair and how professional they’ve been through this whole process.  Coach Saban gathered all the information that he could from all the people that he talked too with his connections and so did Coach Pendry.  I just want to say thank you for that.

“Through this whole process it became pretty much evident to me that I had to get as much information and feedback as possible to make an informed decision.  As you all know, I’ve earned my degree here at Alabama.  That was very important to me.  I want to say thank you to (Assistant Athletic Director for Student Services) Jon Dever, (Academic Program Adviser) Jacob (Guess) and the whole academic staff for making the dream of getting a degree a reality for me. 

“I also want to say to Coach Moore, the administration, the faculty and everyone at the University of Alabama, that they have made my stay here as comfortable as possible.  I also want to say to the fans of the University of Alabama, there are no better fans in the world than Alabama.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me and my family and how supportive they are.

“I’ve decided that the best decision for me and my family is to stay for my senior season at the University of Alabama.  It was long, hard decision that was thought through with countless prayers, countless nights of conversation with very informed people, very influential people.  I want to say thank you to everybody for that. I felt like staying my senior would give me the best possible chance at the NFL.  It’s still a dream I aspire for and strive for that every day.  I feel like the most important thing is to stay here, get another year to grow, be around influential people like Coach Saban and Coach Pendry that know the business and know the NFL. 

“The thing that was the most important to me outside of all of that was my teammates.  I feel like the bond we have here is incredible and I don’t want to exchange that for any amount of money.  I feel like my teammates are the most important to me and there are things I still want to achieve.  There is a lot of unfinished business that I have here the University.  I would like to win an SEC Championship.  I have individual goals for myself that I would still like to achieve.  All of this is important to me through this decision-making process.  I took a lot of time to make this decision.  I am happy with it.  I feel comfortable with my decision.  For the most part, I want to get this season started right and hopefully we will do a little bit better this year than we did last year.

Again, I’d like to say thank you.  Thank you to my family who supported me.  Thank you to the media.  Thank you to everyone who helped me with this decision.”

Now that you’ve made the announcement, how do you feel?
“I feel relieved.  I feel like this whole process was equated to high school recruiting, but 100 times worse.  I feel happy.  I feel comfortable with my decision.  I’m happy with my decision and I feel comfortable to come back for my senior year.”

What did you learn in the information-gathering process?
“Well, I was fortunate enough to have Coach Saban and Coach Pendry who has been at that level and they have a ton of connections with GMs and tons of people in each organization.  Coach Saban and Coach Pendry did a great job talking to those people and relaying that information to me.  I learned just how much of a business this really is and was I ready for that right now?  Mentally, I would have been able to do that, but it wasn’t the most important thing to me right now.  That’s what it came down too.  Coach Saban and Coach Pendry reached out to a ton of people and they helped me make a more informed decision.”

Where did they speculate that you would go in the draft and how much did that weigh into the decision?
“Obviously it had an impact on my decision.  I think it was as high as third round.  I think Coach Saban’s philosophy is kind of in line with mine.  Anytime, you are a first or second round pick, Coach Saban is probably going to support that player to make a move to better his situation and his family’s situation.  As a third-round pick, I don’t know how substantial the amount of money would come into play ?? not that that was a huge decision-maker for me.  I just didn’t know how much I’d be able to help out myself and my family and there were a lot things I still needed to do here.  I felt like being as high as a third-round pick, which is still a substantial pick, but it wasn’t something I was ready to jump for not when I could come back and do all the things I want to do at the University.”

How many people did you talk to for advice and was there anyone that was the most influential?
“Well the most influential was my parents after talking to them.  I always made a little joke that I’ve been broke for 21 years, so 10 more months probably won’t hurt.  I can’t say enough about how supportive they were.  I don’t know how many parents in this situation wouldn’t say, go ahead and make the jump, try and better us and do this and do that.  They have been the most unselfish people and been so supportive in this whole process.  That’s what made feel the most comfortable with my decision.  We are going to be fine for however long it is that I will be here, 10, 11,12 months, whatever.  I felt like making this decision was ultimately in the long run better for myself so that’s what I based my decision on.”

You’ve played every position on the offensive line.  What does the NFL say about your versatility?
“I think all the GMs that Coach Saban and Coach Pendry talked to that versatility was a big asset.  I don’t think it was something to say we will leave you here or leave you there, would that better your stock?  I think playing every position will help me in the long run.  I haven’t really talked to Coach Pendry specifically about what we will do this year.  I am sure that is something we will do later on.  It will still be something that I’ll be willing to do again, whatever will help my team.  Evan Cardwell is coming on strong.  He did a great job at center for us this year.  I will have no problem playing guard, center or whatever they need me to do to help the team out.”

What are you going to do school-wise now?
“What I plan on doing now that I have my undergraduate (degree), I plan on getting in grad school in the management program.  I’d like to center my studies around real-estate.  That is something I really want to do. This is something I’d really like to do in the future and Jon Dever and Jacob have been doing a great job working with me to build some classes in that area.  So, that’s what I plan to do.”

Head Football Coach Nick Saban
Monday, January 14, 2008

Statement:
“First of all, we are very pleased and happy that Antoine is going to come back for his senior season. There are several things to be noted here.  I think this is a great victory for college football, in that we have a fine young man, who has tremendous leadership qualities, who thinks of his teammates and the legacy he can create for himself, relative to the institution that he represents.

“I think that’s probably the key thing here, relative to Antoine’s decision.  He can develop as a player another year here with a very good (offensive line coach) and very good staff, so he can actually enhance himself to the NFL and make improvements that will enhance his ability to get drafted higher.  I think the decision really came down to the fact, that in his heart, he wanted to be a part of this team.  He wanted to affect this team. He has been elected captain.  I think he is an outstanding player.  I think that he would achieve tremendous accolades and will achieve tremendous accolades in the future, relative to creating a legacy as not only being a captain but possibly a guy that can make All-American and should make All-American and is a guy that should be recognized in that elite caliber of players as an offensive lineman, center or guard.

“There is no question in my mind that he will be a tremendous asset and outstanding player for us next year.  I think he’s going to be a very high draft pick in the future as he improves and develops throughout this next season.  It’s been a real pleasure and joy for me. He’s got a great family. His parents have been very, very cooperative and very hospitable to us, in terms of helping us gather information to help them make a good decision.  We are really appreciative of their time and attention and they have the best interest of their son at heart here.  This is a fine family and a fine young man.  Any institution would be happy to have them on their team. We are certainly pleased and happy to have such a tremendous leader choosing to come back and play his senior year.

“When I say this is a tremendous victory for college football, I think what it does it says all the good things about what you can accomplish in college.  You can be a good leader, you can affect other people and you can create a legacy for yourself and that’s important for some people.  And think that’s what college football is all about.  I know the spirit that we have here, the tradition that we have here and the fan support that we have here is something that a lot of guys want to be a part of and I know that’s important to Antoine that he gets supported and has been supported here by lots of people, our administration, our fans and everyone else.  We’re pleased and happy that he is going to be a part of our team and he is going to have tremendous impact on our team.  I think the legacy he can create will be well worth it and I think the development that he can have in this year toward next year’s NFL Draft is also going to be something that will benefit him tremendously.”

UA