Former Crimson Tide star reflects

Gene Jelks has struggled for normalcy since turning in Alabama to NCAA

Updated: March 21, 2012, 12:43 AM ET
By Alex Scarborough | TideNation

ATLANTA -- The whirling rush of traffic sounded familiar. The smell of exhaust and damp pavement brought Gene Jelks back to another time.

Walking the streets of downtown Atlanta, the former University of Alabama star felt an old life pulling at him. The concealed alleys and dark underpasses begged his company. The abandoned buildings and boarded-up crack houses offered shelter to a man who once fell victim to their broken siren song.

Eyeing the city's intermittent high-rises, Jelks ...

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