TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — After helping Alabama win a couple of national championships, Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy and cornerback Dee Milliner now have a larger task — carrying on the Tide’s good name at the professional level.
Both Lacy and Milliner announced at a news conference today they are leaving Alabama to turn pro.
Lacy is following in the footsteps of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Walker Award winner Trent Richardson, both of whom bypassed their senior season and were picked in the first round of the NFL draft. Milliner is following the example of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and safety Mark Barron, a pair of former teammates who were first-round picks, too.
Lacy said the NFL advisory board told him he could be either a second- or third-round pick in April draft. When making his decision to leave, he considered how long a running back has to play.
“We get hit a lot, so you have to pretty much go when you can,” Lacy said. “It’s all about the position you put yourself in at the end of the season, and if you’re able to go, you should leave. But if you have to come back and play another year, that’s not a bad decision, either.
“I don’t feel any pressure. I know I just have to do what they did: come out and do what I can do to the best of my ability.”
Milliner has tried to avoid the conversation completely, but did have trouble after getting feedback from the NFL board that he could be taken in the first round.
“People always try to tell me, but I don’t watch stuff like that,” Milliner said. “That can get in your head and make you start playing just for the NFL.
“Any time you get something back of that caliber, you try to keep it off, but it’s always in the back of your mind. I tried to tell them to keep it until after the (BCS National Championship) game, but they ended up giving it to me and telling me.”
Contributed by Brett Hudson
Video of Milliner, then Lacy at their news conference today: