The scuttlebutt for weeks now has been that Zeke Knight may seek a transfer to another school if he is not medically cleared to play at Alabama. And now we have published reports to confirm those rumors.
According to Faulkner University head coach Jim Nichols, Knight approached him about enrolling at the university and playing this Fall. Knight told him that he was "done at Alabama," but things went no further. Nichols apparently looked into whether or not it would be possible for Knight to play, but apparently it was not.
To put all of this mildly, this is a pretty scary situation. Knight is obviously not going to be cleared by our medical staff to play again, but he's shopping for a school that will let him do just that, contrary to medical advice. In effect, it's nothing short of doctor-shopping, and in my unqualified eyes, that's playing with fire in a situation like this. Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely love to have Knight play this season -- I raved about him last year, he's a legitimate NFL caliber linebacker, I think he was the best defender we had all of last year, and his presence could make a huge impact on the effectiveness of our defense in 2008 -- but the last thing I ever want to see is someone put his life in serious jeopardy to play what is ultimately a meaningless game. Again, he'd be an extremely valuable asset this upcoming season, but if that is the price of victory then I'll gladly take the losses.
To be sure, a situation like this has happened before at Alabama, and it occasionally has occurred at other schools as well, so it's not exactly unchartered territory. As long as Knight can find a school willing to clear him medically, he can transfer and play out his eligibility. But to say this does not create great concern would be wrong. We have a good medical staff, and I'm absolutely certain that they would not allow a player of this caliber to play unless they had grave concerns about his medical condition going forward.
Besides, Zeke is going to graduate in a couple of weeks, so he will have his degree. I wish he'd just let it go and hang it up, but it doesn't seem like he will go so easily. Either way, football talk aside, I just hope he's okay. He's been a fine representative of the university ever since he first set foot on campus, and he's overcame a lot of adversity to do well, and at this point his well-being should be the only concern.