Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/15/14

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07: Terrence Cody #62 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after their 24-15 win over the Louisiana State University Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

We’ve all seen the terrifying pictures of Terrence Cody at the NFL Combine a few years back, pictures which, even today still give many of nightmares. But as scary as that sounds, how much more intimidating might it be to see Cody barreling at you full-speed ahead on a paintball field? Well, some folks in Alabama got that experience this weekend.

That’s because, following Alabama’s A-Day spring football game, a group of former players gave back to the community, by playing paintball for charity. The event was set up by former Alabama defensive back Chris Rogers, with proceeds benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, along with, Together Assisting People, which Rogers set up himself in 2009. Rogers mother is a cancer survivor, which inspired him to organize the event.

Rogers told AL.com:

"I just wanted to use the platform I had playing for a great institution like the University of Alabama," Rogers said. "It's awesome that my teammates came to support me."

And support him, they did. Amongst the ex-Crimson Tide players who showed up included Cody, Mark Ingram, Marcell Dareus, Marquis Maze, Glen Coffee, Roy Upchurch, Eryk Anders, Brad Smelley, Brandon Gibson and Will Lowery. For many, it was the first time they’d ever played paintball, with Cody sharing his experience with Alabama’s student newspaper the Crimson White.

“I didn’t know what the object of the game was or what we had to do, so I was just out there shooting most of the time. Then they said I got shot and I was [like], ‘Ah, ok,’” Cody told the newspaper.

Of course there were more important issues, like the charity event itself.

Rogers mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and in-between practices, he used to go see her in the hospital. After she recovered, he made it a mission to give back, setting up Together Assisting People, with the help of a graduate school professor. And while no total number of dollars raised from this weekend was announced, what was important was about the sense of community the event showed. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is famous for preaching togetherness, and putting the team above the individual. Well, this event proved that.

Ingram summed up that exact sentiment in one statement to the Crimson White.

“It just shows how much of a family-oriented program we are. Some of us played with each other, some of us didn’t. But at the same time, we all come back here and support each other.”

And above all, these are the kinds of stories which too often get lost in the college football shuffle. As much as we talk about the games on the field, (which are obviously a big part of what we, and the players we cover do), it also about all the stuff that happens when the cameras are off. And at the end of the day it isn’t just about wins and championships, but also about the bonds that are formed, and the friendships that are built, even long after you leave campus. Ingram’s quote above exemplifies that.

And apparently, this isn’t one isolated story, but instead something that we may be talking about again next year. Apparently Rogers wants to make the event a staple of every A-Day Saturday in Alabama, and get together players past, present and future for the event.

Saturday may have been the first time that Terrence Cody sprinted around a paintball field, and it also probably won’t be the last.

You’ve been warned.

For all his opinion, articles and insight on college football, follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.



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