When a former first-round pick calls it a career after less than a decade in the NFL, some pundits may call that player a bust. But for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, leaving the game of football wasn't about throwing in the towel, it was about giving back to the university that helped him achieve his dreams. And for Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Clinton-Dix has made a big impact on the Tide players in his short time as Director of Player Development.
Clinton-Dix's Return to Tuscaloosa Already Paying Dividends
"Helping these kids create great decision making and making the right choices as they get ready to further their career and head to the NFL," Clinton-Dix said to TuscaloosaNews.com, "and other avenues they want to endure after football is over with."
Clinton-Dix's time at Alabama included two BCS National Championships in 2011 and 2012, but it also came with some sharp ups and downs. In 2013, Saban suspended his star safety indefinitely for violating team rules. Following a two-game suspension after being tied to an investigation relating to impermissible benefits, Clinton-Dix was back and ready to roll. That same season he'd put together an All-American effort and be named First Team All-SEC.
But Clinton-Dix is hoping his time on Alabama's sideline has a bigger effect than his on-field career. So far, that's been the case according to Coach Saban.
"Ha Ha has got great character," Coach Saban said. "He's a great person. He sets a really good example. He's got really good leadership. Players sort of migrate to him. He gives them great advice and direction in the things they can do to help accomplish their goals. He just has done a fantastic job for us and appreciate the fact he wants to be here."
"It always makes me happy when we have guys that played here, had great careers in the NFL, made the pro bowl and they want to come back and be part of the program," Saban said. "We welcomed him and he's done a fantastic job for us."
After a disappointing 2022 season, Alabama is hoping to get back on top of the SEC and National rankings, Nick Saban appears to be returning to his more successful past in order to jump start the future.
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