At first, Brandon Deaderick thought someone was playing a joke.
Ultimately, no one was laughing Aug. 31, when the Alabama defensive end was shot once during an attempted robbery. The bullet fired by an unidentified assailant passed threw his left forearm and thigh, but it didn’t keep him off the field Saturday night in Alabama’s 34-24 win over Virginia Tech.
“Words can’t describe how I feel right now and how blessed I am to be able to come through this situation to be able to do what I love, especially in the same week with a speedy recovery like I had,” Deaderick said after the win.
His status for Saturday’s game with Florida International is unclear, however, following the death of his grandmother. The senior was excused from practice Tuesday and Wednesday; the funeral is scheduled for today in Kentucky.
“If he can get back and practice a little bit and know what we’re doing, I don’t know of any reason why he can’t play,” coach Nick Saban said. “It certainly isn’t a physical issue.”
Just making it to the Georgia Dome last Saturday for the first game of the season is achievement enough for Deaderick. Recalling the night he was shot at an off-campus apartment complex in Tuscaloosa, the Elizabethtown, Ky., native said instincts took over.
“I pulled, and I saw him come up from the side,” Deaderick said. “I tried to get the car pulled over. By the time I realized it was for real, the only thing I could do was go for the gun.”
When describing his gunshot wound, he said, “It’s kinda big. It’s open, but it really doesn’t hurt.” A long white sleeve covered the wound on his arm during the game.
Just practicing after the shooting was amazing to linebacker Cory Reamer.
“Anybody who plays with three holes in their body like that, it’s impressive,” Reamer said. “I don’t know how he did it.”