After initial hesitation, Alabama DB to report for voluntary workouts
The majority of Alabama’s football team reported back to Tuscaloosa on Monday as the SEC voted to allow voluntary in-person athletic activities on campus beginning on June 8. Until Thursday, the Crimson Tide’s most experienced defensive back was a notable omission.
During a May 27 interview with ESPN’s Golic and Wingo radio show, Patrick Surtain Sr. expressed concern over his son, Patrick Surtain II, returning to Alabama amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. His main worry centered around an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among construction workers involved in the renovation of Bryant-Denny Stadium last month where more than 10 people tested positive for the virus.
At the time, Surtain called for some sort of reassurance from the university that it would be safe for his son to return, stating “until we get something definitive, he’s going to be here (at home) training like he’s been doing this whole offseason.”
After talking with Alabama officials this week, he is satisfied with the protocols the university has in place and told BamaInsider his son will rejoin the team Thursday.
“I spoke with coaches, training and medical staff about plans going forward, and as always, they are way ahead of the curve in everything they do,” the older Surtain told BamaInsider via text. “Therefore, we felt comfortable enough to let him return.”
During his radio interview last week, Surtain said his son was “itching to be back being in that controlled environment with the fellas and getting football going back." He also assured that the defensive back has been hard at work training the past three months back home in Plantation, Fla.
“Football, whenever it comes back, he’ll be ready to go,” Surtain said of his son. “Like I said, he’s been doing his due diligence and getting his work in, eating right and doing the necessary things that he would have been doing had he been on campus.”
Entering his junior season, the younger Surtain is viewed as one of the nation's top defensive backs and has already recorded 25 starts in his first two years with the Crimson Tide. Last season, the 6-foot-2, 203-pound defender tied for the team lead with eight pass deflections while also recording two interceptions and three forced fumbles. He also tallied 42 tackles, including one for a loss.
Alabama's secondary lost four starters this offseason, including safeties Xavier McKinney and Jared Mayden as well as cornerback Trevon Diggs and Shyheim Carter, who played at the Star position. Surtain has starting experience at both cornerback and Star. He is one of three returning defensive backs with starting experience along with Jordan Battle (four career starts) and Josh Jobe (two career starts).
The voluntary workouts beginning on June 8 will be supervised and must comply with safety guidelines created by each institution. Strength and conditioning personnel are the only ones allowed to supervise these voluntary activities. BamaInsider has been told that players and coaches underwent COVID-19 testing earlier this week.