Saban: Back problems end Mitchell's Tide career - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Saban: Back problems end Mitchell's Tide career

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - The offseason has taken a bit of a toll on Alabama's football team.

Coach Nick Saban said Thursday that senior cornerback Lionel Mitchell has been placed on medical scholarship because of chronic back problems, ending the former starter's college career.

That was the biggest of several roster updates Saban offered during an informal session with media.

Receiver Will Oakley broke a bone in his foot during a weight-room workout and had surgery on Thursday, Saban said.

"It's going to be tight as to whether he's going to be ready for the start of fall camp," Saban said.

He did say cornerback Kareem Jackson and linebacker Charlie Higgenbotham should be back in time for the July 31 start of preseason practices after having "very mild sports hernias" repaired.

The coach also confirmed that defensive line signee Brandon Lewis failed to academically qualify and started attending a junior college this summer. Signee Melvin Ray has already opted to pursue a pro baseball career instead of playing football for the Tide, and receiver Destin Hood is considering the same move.

Mitchell sat out spring practice because of the back problems. He had four interceptions as a sophomore and one last season, when he made seven of his 10 career starts.

Jackson, a sophomore, replaced him in the starting lineup last season after Mitchell gave up the winning touchdown catch against Georgia. The Tide also must replace departed starting corner Simeon Castille.


(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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