ITKVinnie Sunseri was my favorite Bama player since Javier Arenas.

There, I said it.

I loved the kid. He played with the kind of heart I would’ve wanted to possess if I could swap places with him.

Not the most talented or fastest on the field, Sunseri played his days at Alabama with an aggressive toughness that made you want to watch.

That said, when you started listing prospects on Bama’s team for future NFL drafts, Sunseri’s name really never made the conversation. One could see Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, obviously. And, years ahead of time, even Landon Collins.

The position in which Vinnie Sunseri is most likely to find himself in the NFL.

The position in which Vinnie Sunseri is most likely to find himself in the NFL.

But Vinnie Sunseri was the kind of player I loved rooting for other reasons. He was the Rocky Balboa of college football players. Much further along than “Rudy,” but still of that ilk. Just sheer toughness with cleats on. Pluck and grit that would’ve made the writer of “Yea, Alabama” smile.

But NFL ready? Right now? Hardly.

So when his name made the final list of underclassmen declaring for the draft, like so many, I had to scratch my head. What would cause this young man, recovering from a torn ACL the 7th game of last season, to forego his final year at Alabama and throw his name in preverbial NFL hat?

The NFL draft is risky, whether you go early or stay and play your last year. There are much more talented players than Vinnie Sunseri that have declared and gone undrafted. Many more who sign as a free agent, yet get cut before the first game.

I’m afraid this is where we’ll re-visit Vinnie in a few months. And to me, that’s a tragedy.

So what made him leave? There has been some turnover at the Capstone, with some coaches coming and others going, but not the kind that suggests major upheaval behind the scenes. Amid Bama’s three recent national title runs, coaching changes took place, and early declarees said goodbye to Tuscaloosa.

But this year’s changes didn’t necessarily come at his position. DL coach? Sure. Offensive coordinator? That’s well known. But Kirby Smart remains, as does Nick Saban, the backbone of the defensive side of the ball. Defensive backs coach Greg Brown is thought to be stepping down after an experiment that didn’t work this season, but only to make way for former defensive coordinator Kevin Steele to take the field with the team again as a positions coach.

So did Sal Sunseri, the younger Sunseri’s father and former member of the Tide coaching staff, not see eye-to-eye with his former boss? Was there hurt feelings over playing time? Was there discontent on having to play special teams, where the injury eventually took place?

Or did Vinnie, after a few drinks, believe one of his boys one night out on the town, chiming that he was NFL ready right now? Despite being a step slow and struggling in coverage his whole career. I mean, do you ever, in a million years, think of Vinnie Sunseri close to the regard of a Richard Sherman? Michael Crabtree would abuse Vinnie Sunseri and tell him to like it.

Who knows, and until Vinnie speaks, we may never know. One thing is for sure. Whoever gave him the word he’s ready for the next level offered some bad advice. The next time we see Vinnie Sunseri in a uni will either be on an NFL practice squad, in Canada, or much more likely, in a coach’s shirt somewhere as a GA.

Vinnie Sunseri has played his last down of football. I’m all for a player coming out early when money is on the table. But instead, Vinnie is walking away from whatever he could’ve garnered with another year of preparation, and proving his knee is ready to go.

I hope I am wrong about the guy and his decision. I was about Bama’s Kareem Jackson when he came out early after 2009. But Vinnie Sunseri is no Kareem Jackson.

Alabama football will go on without Vinnie Sunseri. There is a wealth of talent there, and more on the way. But Vinnie Sunseri’s career will not go on without Alabama football. And for me, and Vinnie, that’s just sad.


(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

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8 Responses to “Vinnie Sunseri baffles all with his NFL decision” Subscribe

  1. Crimsonite January 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    I totally agree. This is the dumbest ass decision I have seen anybody make since hiiring Dumbose to replace Stallings. Sunseri also made his way to being my favorite player on defense, especially after coming from the opposite field and running down Evans on that 95 yard TD. He will not get drafted. His best hope is free agent, but if Lester can’t make it, then Sunseri has no chance at all. He just fucked his chance for his best ever football year. This pisses me off to the point where I really hate to say it, but Sunseri can kiss my ass for abandoning Bama to chase a damn lark. RTR!

    • LMAO January 25, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      So why should you as a grown adult be pissed off….Oh wait you think these kids should make decisions based on what will make an immature man like you happy! You need to get a life gump, and quit living your obviously pathetic life through the life of 18 to 22 year old kids. To tell a kid you’ve cheered for to kiss your ass because you don’t like a life decision he made based on factors I’m sure you know nothing about, shows what kind of poor fans you gumps really are. LMAO

      • ITK January 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

        Personally, setting aside your tired, worn-out vitriol, I just want what’s best for the kid, which is another year of football, somewhere. Even if he transferred. His career is now essentially over because he’s acted on bad advice. It just wasn’t a good decision. I’m sorry that upsets you.

        • LMAO January 27, 2014 at 7:33 am #

          ITK you must be addressing Crimsonut because he’s the one upset and pissed off, not me! LMAO

          PS. Most of articles you write for this site are nothing but worn-out vitriol.

          • The Conduit January 27, 2014 at 8:31 am #

            There’s some good irony in you, LMAO, calling someone else out for what they do with their life. It’s even sweetened by your writing skills, or, rather, the lack thereof.

  2. Crimsonite January 20, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    I have a question maybe someone can answer with fact and not conjecture. I thought I had read every single article written about Kiffin. But I’ll be damned if I have seen even the vaguest reference to what Bama is paying him. Surely he has to be one of the country’s 5 highest paid coordinators. After what he’s been making I can’t see him being happy and busting his ass for what Nuss was making. Anybody?

  3. The Conduit January 20, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    I’d like to think between Saban and Sal that he’d have gotten some good advice about the NFL, particularly because both of them have so much experience and advice.

    I don’t understand Vinnie’s decision. But I have a hard time thinking it was the worst decision he could make. Landon Collins took his spot, for one, and Vinnie isn’t fast enough for free safety (not that he’s seeking the position, including in the pros).

    Here’s the thing, I like Vinnie. Everyone likes Vinnie. Why? Because he’s smart, articulate, and passionate about football. I’d like to think he knows more about what’s going on than I do. I just don’t think he’s not smart enough to make what some Alabama fans seem to think is the worst decision he’s ever made. I know it’s incredibly uncommon for a guy to leave Alabama “too early,” so maybe it’s relatively safe to assume he isn’t.

    As for not being ready for the next level, I think he is as ready as he’ll ever be at his position. I can’t pretend I didn’t wish he was coming back for another season. But the bottom line is we’ll know more soon enough. For now, I dont. The worst thing that could happen it sounds like is he makes no money in pro football and has to do something else, which I wouldn’t worry about with Vinnie, either.

    Vinnie’s a champion. Now he’s gone. All I can really do is root for the guy. Roll Tide.

  4. almightytmc1 January 21, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    Vinnie … best of luck. Hope you make it big!

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