NFL’s greatest lineman gives a nod to Saban, Barrett Jones

Former Alabama offensive lineman John Hannah does an interview at the First-team All-America reception before Saturday’s game.

NFL Hall of Fame offensive lineman John Hannah played for Bear Bryant at Alabama and said nobody could top his old coach at most anything to do with football.

But Hannah said current Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban does have one edge.

“One thing Saban does better than Coach Bryant is recruit,” Hannah said. “I’ve never seen a stable full of recruits like he gets. I don’t see how he does it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Hannah attended Saturday’s game as part of Alabama honoring all of its first-team All-Americans. The group had a reception before the game in the Crimson Tide’s A-Day suites.

Hannah also has great respect for Alabama center Barrett Jones. When Hannah played at Alabama during 1969-72, he spent two years at tackle and two more at guard when the Tide switched to the wishbone offense. Guard is the position where he became an All-Pro for the New England Patriots. But Jones has played tackle, guard and center.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Hannah, who lives in Priceville. “In today’s NFL game with limited number of players, that could make him valuable. I don’t see how he does it.

“All the angles are different at each position. You block one way at tackle, another way at guard and a different way at center. And he does it all well.”

That’s a heady compliment coming from Hannah. During his career with New England, which lasted from 1973-85, Sports Illustrated published a cover story proclaiming Hannah as the game’s greatest offensive lineman.

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