TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama football tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Jay Graham resigned on Wednesday morning before the Crimson Tide's third practice of the spring and then took to Twitter to shed light on his decision to resign from the school:
"I appreciate Coach [Nick] Saban and the University of Alabama for their understanding and support during this difficult time," he posted. "The events of the past year have taken a toll on millions of people around the world, not only in lost loved ones but in the unprecendented anxieties and mental health.
"I am taking time away from football to seek professional help immediately, gain a better understanding of mental health and spend time with loved ones. I hope to rebalance my life so that I am able to return to my passion of coaching and helping student-athletes achieve their dreams.
"While mental health issues are not new, they are often difficult to discuss, especially for coaches/athletes. I hope my voice inspires others that may be struggling to seek help. I would like to thank everyone for their support, grace and words of encouragement."
Graham was hired by Alabama just two months ago to replace Jeff Banks, who left to join Steve Sarkisian at Texas. Graham spent the 2020 season with Tennessee as the Volunteers' running backs coach under Jeremy Pruitt.
For the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he was in College Station at Texas A&M in the same position.
Later on Wednesday evening, coach Nick Saban addressed the media to discuss the move and the team's plan moving forward.
"I think you all saw the statement that Jay Graham put out," Saban said. "Jay made a decision to do what he did and we’re going to support him and his family every way we can. And we certainly wish him and his family the best."
Saban revealed that Todd Watson, who was hired this offseason to serve as the special assistant to the head coach, will fill his duties until further notice.
"Obviously our plan is to improvise and adjust. I think we have other people that can help coach special teams," Saban said. "Todd Watson, who was a special assistant, intern, doing special teams, we just activated him to do it for now and we’ll start a search and see if we can find the best coach. There’s no timetable for doing that. We want to really try to get the best person we can get. It’s not an ideal time, lots of people in spring practice.
"So we’ll just have to see how it goes and how that process ends up. We just started that a little bit today."