Alabama OL Anthony Steen will skip 2013 NFL Draft, returns for senior season

Alabama Crimson Tide guard Anthony Steen (61) blocks on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium. Alabama beat Michigan 41-14. (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

For several members of the Alabama Crimson Tide, two consecutive BCS National Championships and three in four years just simply is not enough.

Quarterback AJ McCarron announced well before the title game against Notre Dame that he would be returning for his final season, as did linebacker CJ Mosley, the Tide’s defensive captain.

On Wednesday, offensive lineman Anthony Steen announced his decision to join in comrades and remain in Tuscaloosa for his senior season. Fox Sports first reported on Steen’s choice. He, like the others, wants to really put his stamp on the history books, according to a statement released by the Alabama Athletics Communications department.

“After sitting down with my family and Coach Saban, I have decided it is in my best interest to return for my senior season,” Steen said. “Getting my degree was one of my goals when I came to the University of Alabama, and I am on schedule to graduate this spring.

“I also think returning in 2013 will give me a chance to improve my draft status while also providing the opportunity to enjoy another season with my teammates, coaches and our fans. I enjoy Tuscaloosa and our fans way too much to leave early. We are also losing two great seniors this year and this will give me the chance to help get players ready for their new roles in 2013.”

The 6-foot-3, 303-pound Mississippi native has played in 40 games, starting 25 of them. He has started for the previous two seasons and will be expected to anchor the dynasty’s offensive line in 2013.

Coach Nick Saban’s offensive line in 2012 was one of the most talented and physically dominating in college football history. He will be losing Chance Warmack and Barrett Jones each to the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft, in all likelihood. Thus, the now-legendary coach is understandably thrilled to have Steen coming back — that is, as thrilled as Nick Saban gets about anything.

“We are glad that Anthony has decided to return and he’ll be one of the senior leaders of our offense,” Saban said. “He’s done an outstanding job for us as a starter at guard on the last two championships teams and I think he can become an even better player and improve his status for next year’s draft with another season here.

“We always want to help our players make an informed decision when it comes to what is best for their future. One of our goals at Alabama is to help our guys develop a career off the field by graduating, which Anthony is on track to do this spring. We also want them to become the best football players they can be during their time here while working to win a championship and preparing them for the possibility of playing in the NFL. I think Anthony has made a very good decision in deciding to return and he has done it in the right way in terms of talking to all of the appropriate people, most importantly his family.”

Beyond Steen, McCarron, and Mosley, the Tide is returning a lot of younger talent from the BCS title team, including running back TJ Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Both will be sophomores in 2013 but both will be expected to make the leap to stardom.

McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, made the leap to stardom following her cameo in the BCS Championship game.