TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama starting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules, head coach Nick Saban announced on Wednesday.
Clinton-Dix, a junior, is a key player on Alabama’s defense and has accounted for 24 tackles this season, the second-highest tackle total on the team behind C.J. Mosley.
A hoarse Saban said at his press conference Wednesday that he never comments on suspensions and would not hint at a specific length for Clinton-Dix’s suspension.
“I’m going to be consistent. When guys get suspended, I never ever say what it’s for,” Saban said. “I'm not going there, so don't ask me.
“It's the way it always happens. Every guy. They do right, they wouldn't be getting suspended. And I don't know for how long this will be, so don't ask me that either.”
While it’s never a good thing for a starter and defensive leader to be suspended, this news comes at the best possible time for Alabama. With their next four games against Georgia State at home, away at Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee at home, followed by a bye week, Clinton-Dix’s presence isn’t as necessary as it will be against LSU on Nov. 9.
In his absence, safety Geno Smith - who was suspended for Week 1 after a DUI - and cornerback Landon Collins - who has been stellar on special teams coverage this season - have been working at Clinton-Dix’s position this week in practice. Safety Nick Perry would be his obvious replacement, but Perry is out for the season after having shoulder surgery.
Though it’s unclear when the team was informed, defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan said that the other defensive players would fill the void.
“He's a great player, obviously he'll be missed,” Pagan said. “But I'm confident in the guys we have behind him and the guys in the secondary to make adjustments. I think we'll be alright.”