Senior Bowl bound; who wants some peanuts?

Published 12:01 am Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nestled in a building in downtown Mobile was a shop that sold roasted peanuts.

As my Dad, brothers and I would make the trek across the bay, we’d frequent the establishment to buy a bag of roasted peanuts.

I can still smell and see them, waiting under golden-filtered lights for customers to buy.

Peanuts, whether roasted or boiled, are a staple at a lot of sporting events.

Upon purchasing a bag or two, we’d then make our way to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to watch the Senior Bowl when we’d have tickets to the game.

I’ll be heading back down to Mobile on Saturday morning for the football game, where college senior athletes play to catch the eyes of NFL coaches and scouts.

Back then, I didn’t really realize what they were playing for.

Back then, I remember the Senior Bowl being sponsored by the old grocery chain, Delchamps.

Former Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson will play in the game and the many stories online and in print have indicated that the Andalusia native is playing to prove he’s worthy of the NFL gridiron.

Like me, Johnson had been to a Senior Bowl before at a young age.

During a recent interview, Johnson said he went to his first game at 10 years old with local attorney John Jones.

“I really didn’t understand the purpose of going to the Senior Bowl, but now being able to go through college football, I understand it more — how big it is for the players and coaches,” Johnson said. “It’s something special to me because I have an opportunity to go out and show the NFL scouts and coaches what I can do.”

Johnson finished his senior season for the Crimson Tide winning his third BCS National Championship in four years.

I’m pretty sure NFL scouts and coaches have noticed the third-leading tackler on Alabama this season.

Last week, I was trying to decided whether or not to go to the Senior Bowl.

In my reasoning, I decided that it’s special for Nico to be invited to play in the annual bowl game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

So, I had a colleague help me sign up for credentials.

My application was approved — of course — and I’m eager to get on the road to go take pictures and cover the game.

Heck, I may even drop by and get some peanuts for the game.