TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama coach Nick Saban announced starting safety HaHa Clinton-Dix has been suspended indefinitely for a “violation of team rules and policies.”
Saban declined to give details about the suspension.
“Look guys, I’m going to be consistent,” Saban said during his Wednesday news conference. “When guys get suspended, I never ever say what it's for, all right. So, I'm not going there so don't ask me. That’s the way it always happens with every guy. If they do right, they wouldn't be getting suspended.
“I don't know how long this will be, so don't ask me that either.”
Clinton-Dix was at Wednesday’s practice, but worked from the back of the line with the safeties.
Clinton-Dix, a third-year junior, is the team’s second leading tackler with 24 stops and has two pass deflections. As a sophomore, he led the team with five interceptions.
Clinton-Dix is considered one of the nation’s best safeties and is projected by some analysts and scouts as a potential first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
This is Clinton-Dix first public form of discipline from Saban.
Clinton-Dix has received praise from Saban and has been a regular in the interview room and following games. He was on the cover of one of Alabama’s four preseason media guides. Clinton-Dix was also apart of a small group of Tide players who were interviewed live by ESPN on campus during the build up to the Tide’s showdown with Texas A&M.
Senior Nick Perry was Clinton-Dix's backup, but he is out for the season after having shoulder surgery. Saban said sophomores Landon Collins and Geno Smith have been working in Clinton-Dix’s position.
Clinton-Dix is the fourth announced suspension for the Tide dating back to the start of preseason practice. In separate incidents, linebacker Trey Depriest and tight end Malcolm Faciane were suspended indefinitely during the preseason for a violation of team rules. DePriest missed a week while Faciane served a 30-day suspension. Both were reinstated before the season opener.
Safety Geno Smith was suspended for the season opener following an arrest for driving under the influence. “Yeah, the disciplinary part of it is getting better every day,” junior defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan said. “But the majority of the guys are buying in.”
How does HaHa situation affect defense?
“He’s a great player and obviously he will be missed, but I'm confident in the guys we have behind him and the guys in the secondary to make adjustments,” Pagan said. “I think we’ll be all right.”