For the first time publicly Nick Saban addressed the decision that allowed D.J. Pettway to re-enroll at the University of Alabama and join the Crimson Tide football team.
Two things were clear if you're well versed in Saban speak.
The first is that it was a university decision. The second, and perhaps the most telling even if tougher to de-code, was that even though Pettway was involved in the February 2013 robbery of two UA students, his involvement didn't rise to the level of the other two offenders, Tyler Hayes and Eddie Williams.
Saban said the university set conditions in place that would allow Pettway to return to school provided he met those requirements.
"He did all of those things," Saban said. "The university made a decision that he could come back. We made a decision that we wanted him back. We know D.J. Pettway very well. He certainly made a mistake in terms of what he did. We felt that this one person, because he did the things he was required to do, deserved a second chance.
"D.J. was never a bad guy when he was here. We never had a lot of problems with him before. He did make a horrible decision to be involved with this incident but his involvement and the severity of his punishment was based on his involvement. Those are the guidelines that were set for him to get an opportunity to come back. No one else has that opportunity."
In other words, there are no conditions that would allow either Hayes or Williams to return to school.
Pettway withdrew from school after the incident and enrolled at East Mississippi Community College, where he played and earned All-American honors in 2013, recording 47 tackles with 11.5 sacks.
Alabama players said they're glad he's coming back.
"I'm happy he got a second chance," senior linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "He helped us out when he was here, so it's good that he got his things cleared up and straightened out. It's always good to get a second chance and hopefully he'll take advantage of it."
"(It's) great," sophomore safety Landon Collins said. "He's a great player when he was here. We still need him and we expect him to come back with his head on strong and ready to play, too."
When Mosley was awarded the Butkus Award it caught him off guard. Not because he was named the nation's top linebacker, but because of the timing.
The award's namesake, Dick Butkus, surprised Mosley with an appearance at the team banquet.
"It was a big surprise. I wasn't expecting it that early," Mosley said. "It was real nice. My family was happy to see him because my dad and my mom, they're from Chicago. My dad watched him growing up, so it was pretty cool that he got to meet him.
"It was real nice to meet him. He was a very laid back type of guy. You wouldn't expect that if you've seen his highlight film."
The Sugar Bowl is a homecoming of sorts to Collins, who played a few high school games at the Superdome as a student-athlete at Dutchdown High School in Geismar, La, about an hour from New Orleans.
He's looking forward to the trip so he can show his teammates the city.
"They ask me all types of stuff about New Orleans and what's going on and what there is to do and stuff like that," Collins said. "That's what's big to me."
As for Collins, he's looking forward to the food.
"Shrimp fettuccine. I'm going straight seafood."
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.