Entering the NFL Scouting Combine last week, Reuben Foster was projected as a first-round NFL Draft selection. He exited one too, Nick Saban said.

Foster was sent home from the scouting event this past weekend after a verbal altercation with a hospital worker. He wasn’t scheduled to work out due to an injured rotator cuff, but he was to interview and undergo a physical. With his visit cut short, headlines followed questioning how the controversy would hurt his draft stock.

Saban said it wouldn’t, sticking up for his Butkus Award-winning linebacker following his quick hook from Indianapolis.

“Look, Reuben’s been a great player for us here,” Saban said at UA’s Pro Day on Wednesday. “We never had any issues with Reuben…If anyone here asks someone eight or 10 times, ‘Am I in the right place? Is my name on the list? Why have I had to stay here for so long?’ and nobody will respond to you, I think it would probably create a little anxiety for all of us.

“And I know that Reuben wishes he would have responded maybe in a more positive way. But I think other people could have responded and been a little more respective for him as well.”

Foster met with NFL teams Tuesday night prior to Alabama’s Pro Day to explain what happened. He also sent a letter to all 32 teams.

Foster again didn’t work out for the scouts in attendance, but he was present supporting his teammates. Alabama had a total of 17 players participate in some way in its annual Pro Day.

Saban said Foster could’ve handled the situation differently, but that doesn’t change the fact he’s still a first-rounder.

No “candy striper”

“I think anybody who thinks what happened in Indy should affect this guy’s future in the draft is being very short sided,” Saban said. “He’s played here for four years. We’ve never had issues with him. He’s always been a great leader, he’s a signal caller on defense, he’s bright.

“He’s always been a great team guy and really well liked by his teammates.So if you’re looking for a good teammate to be on your team, Reuben is going to be very, very good. If you’re looking for somebody to be a candy striper and be nice to everybody at the hospital, maybe not.”

Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0229.