- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Defensive lineman Kerry Murphy, who was plagued by knee problems last season, is among a handful of players that won't participate in spring practice, Alabama coach Nick Saban said Friday.
Murphy started four games last season at defensive end and also played some at nose guard. Listening to some of Saban's comments, there's no guarantee that Murphy will be back at all. He hasn't been participating in the offseason program.
Defensive backs Kendall Kelly and Wes Neighbors will also not be taking part in spring practice because of physical reasons, according to Saban. Linebacker Glenn Harbin will play baseball at Alabama this spring.
"All these guys have physical issues that have not allowed them to participate in the offseason program and will not allow them to participate in the spring, and most certainly could affect their future ability to contribute here," Saban said.
Saban wouldn't comment on the possibility of Murphy, or any of the players going on medical scholarship, which would end their playing careers.
But if indeed Murphy is finished, that puts even more of a premium on the two junior college defensive linemen the Crimson Tide signed in this class -- Jesse Williams and Quinton Dial.
Saban said that Williams underwent knee surgery to correct a minor issue that had been lingering since junior college, but Williams is expected to be out there for the start of spring practice on March 21. The 6-4 Williams, who's originally from Australia and played last season at Arizona Western College, has trimmed down to 319 pounds. At one point, he weighed more than 340 pounds.
Senior Josh Chapman and Williams will likely share the nose guard duties. Dial probably factors in at end. Like Williams, Dial is already on campus and will go through spring practice.
Junior Damion Square and sophomore Darrington Sentimore also return at end, while sophomore Ed Stinson is moving from Jack linebacker to end. Stinson has bulked up to nearly 280 pounds.
7hEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough
1dDan Murphy and Mitch Sherman