Former Alabama outside linebacker Mekhi Brown, last seen as a sidebar story in the second half of the Crimson Tide’s College Football Playoff Championship win over Georgia, is now going through spring training at his new school, Tennessee State.

Brown committed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (punching a Georgia player) that cost the Crimson Tide 15 yards in the third quarter, then was caught by national television cameras arguing with an Alabama staff member. Brown re-entered the game and had a powerful tackle on a Bulldog kickoff return in the fourth quarter but it was the sideline outburst that drew national attention.

“It was a critical moment in the game and I messed up,” Brown told The Tennessean, which spoke to him at a Tennessee State media opportunity in Nashville . “After it was over, I knew, if I was going to do all that, all the foolishness, I’d have to make up for it. That’s what I’m doing.

“People think I left (Alabama) because of that,” Brown said. “But that wasn’t the case. I met with coach (Nick) Saban after the game when we got back. We talked about it, he said it was wrong, but he didn’t want me to leave. … I left on really good terms with him. I will always respect coach Saban, he will always respect me. He told me I could always come back to visit if I want.”

By transferring to Tennessee State, which competes at the FCS level of NCAA football, Brown did not have to sit out a year and will be eligible to play for the Tigers in the fall.

“He’s a 3-4 outside linebacker, defensive end,” TSU coach Rod Reed told The Tennesseean. “He has the ability to start. We’re competing at every position and he’s doing well.”

Reed added that Brown has been “a model student” in his time at TSU.