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October 15, 2012

Fanning apologizes

TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama defensive end LaMichael Fanning has written letters of apology for a controversial tackle in the waning minutes of UA's win over Missouri Saturday.

Fanning, who has played only sparingly this season, picked up Missouri running back Russell Hansbrough and flipped him on his head, a move known as a suplex in professional wrestling. Officials flagged Fanning for a personal foul.

"I think this is a young player who's excited about getting into the game, makes a very, very poor decision and judgment on making that play," said UA coach Nick Saban. "It's something that we don't condone here. It's not how we want our players to play."

In the two plays subsequent to Fanning's tackle, the Missouri offensive line clearly took exception, throwing Fanning to the ground after the play had gone out of bounds on one play, and pulling his helmet off on another.

"He's an aggressive player, and when you're tackling a small guy like that you can do just about anything you want," said safety Robert Lester. "He took advantage of him."

The Southeastern Conference had no comment on the matter Monday, and it remains to be seen whether the SEC office will take action against Fanning. The SEC has suspended two players this season for illegal tackles, but both of those were for helmet-to-helmet contact, which would not apply to Fanning's tackle.

"We are managing internally things for him to do to make better choices and decisions in the future," Saban added. "I talked to (Missouri coach) Gary (Pinkel) yesterday about it. He understands our position on it."

Fanning has made four tackles on the season. Early Monday, Fanning's twitter feed had a picture of the tackle as an avatar photo, but the photo was changed later in the day.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

TideSports.com chat schedule this week includes Cecil Hurt on Tuesday (7pm), Andrew Bone on Wednesday (6pm) and Chase Goodbread on Thursday (8pm).





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