Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron gets his kicks — a lot of them
BY MIKE BERARDINO For Sun-Times Media
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron smiles as he speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Alabama will play Notre Dame on Jan. 7 in the NCAA college football BCS Championship game. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Turns out AJ McCarron has a weakness after all.
It’s not his arm strength. Nor is it his mobility.
The Alabama quarterback’s weakness is shoes.
Yep, it’s got to be the shoes.
‘‘I’ll just say AJ really enjoys a good pair of shoes,’’ said Barrett Jones, the Crimson Tide’s center and McCarron’s road roommate. ‘‘He likes to look matched.’’
We’re not talking Bruno Maglis here. Nor is it the Air Jordans teammate and fellow shoe nut Kenny Bell collects.
For McCarron, it’s all about the Nike Air Maxes.
Those and Vans.
‘‘It’s like a shoe fetish,’’ running back Eddie Lacy said. ‘‘I don’t understand it. You can’t wear them all.’’
McCarron, who will lead the Tide in Monday’s BCS national championship game against Notre Dame, estimates he has about 130 pairs back in Tuscaloosa.
‘‘Somewhere in there,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s no telling.’’
It helps that his shoe size (12) hasn’t changed since he was in high school in Mobile.
‘‘I keep my shoes over the years,’’ he said. “I keep my shoes clean at all times. They never get dirty.”
McCarron, as you might expect, doesn’t have much time for malls. Instead, his mother is constantly texting him pictures of shoes he might like.
‘‘Do you want this?’’ Dee Dee Bonner will text.
‘‘I’ll say, ‘Yeah, I’ll take it,’ ’’ McCarron said. ‘‘Then I end up having to pay her back.’’
Bonner has caused quite an Internet stir with some of her own outrageous outfits, so it’s probably no surprise her son is a bit of a peacock.
‘‘I’ve always been that way ever since I was little,” McCarron said. ‘‘I figure you can wear the same outfit and change the shoes and it looks like a totally different outfit. I’m just big into shoes.’’
For this extended stay in South Florida, McCarron brought so many shoes he couldn’t even say how many for sure.
‘‘I brought a whole bagful,” he said.
Jones counted them up but wouldn’t share the exact figure Thursday.
‘‘AJ said he wasn’t sure what he was going to want to wear at the time,’’ Jones said.
McCarron’s fashionista tendencies might draw eye rolls from his Alabama teammates, but there’s no mocking his 24-2 career record as starting quarterback. Same goes for his ridiculous career ratio of 45 touchdowns to just eight interceptions.
If Alabama can beat the Irish, McCarron will become the first quarterback in the BCS era to win back-to-back national titles, succeeding where others have failed: Chris Weinke, Matt Leinart and his ‘‘all-time favorite,’’ Miami’s Ken Dorsey.
So if McCarron has a little Kardashian in him, so be it.
‘‘That’s AJ,” receiver Kevin Norwood said. ‘‘He has his own style. He’s different from everybody.’’