The already depleted Alabama defensive backfield could be even thinner when spring practices begin in three weeks.
Multiple news sources reported Thursday that safety Robby Green was suspended indefinitely by coach Nick Saban for violation of team rules. Saban, however, said a decision was still pending in a written statement released Thursday afternoon.
“There is a situation with Robby and we are currently in the process of determining the facts,” the statement reads. “To make any kind of announcement on his playing status at this time is completely premature and it is not appropriate to do so until we have a chance to go through due process for Robby and his family.
“If there is a change in his current status, we will make an announcement once a final determination is made.”
Green, a junior-to-be from New Orleans, was an occasional starter in 2009 and thought to be a leading candidate for a starting job during the Tide’s national title defense.
Should he be missing when spring practices begin March 12, Alabama would be down to two of the 10 defensive backs who appeared on the depth chart for the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship Game.
Sophomore-to-be Dre’ Kirkpatrick, a cornerback who saw limited action outside of special teams, and starting safety Mark Barron are the only other returners from the secondary. Starters Javier Arenas and Justin Woodall completed their eligibility and junior Kareem Jackson left school a year early for the NFL draft.
The incoming class of freshmen included six defensive backs, but only two — top-prospect DeMarcus Milliner and John Fulton — enrolled early to participate in spring practices. A Green absence would further limit combinations in the secondary for the 15 practices that culminates with the April 17 A-Day. But it could help 2009 backups Rod Woodson and Robert Lester see more meaningful action this spring.
Green competed for a starting job last fall before losing out to Woodall. But with Alabama’s multiple defensive formations, he was credited with six starts at nickel back while playing in all 14 games. His 33 total tackles tied for eight most with backup lineman Marcell Dareus.
Defending the pass, Green intercepted an LSU pass on its last offensive play in a 24-15 win that clinched the SEC West title. He broke up six passes, defended seven others and recorded on quarterback hurry.