Alabama's suspended players done for the season

Nick Saban called it an NCAA rule the three violated prior to the Orange Bowl

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The trio of University of Alabama football payers who have been suspended for the Orange Bowl are done for the season and might miss the start of 2019.

Earlier this week, Alabama announced that starting left guard Deonte Brown, reserve offensive lineman Elliott Baker and reserve tight end Kedrick James didn't make the trip to South Florida, where the Crimson Tide will face Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff on Saturday (7 p.m., CT, ESPN).

Saban elaborated some during the Crimson Tide's media day on Thursday morning and said that they might be sidelined "beyond" this season.

"These were NCAA violations," he said. "With those things carry certain consequences and those players knew the situation. They made poor choices."

Although Saban wasn't specific about what they did, such suspensions are consistent with failing a drug test.

A positive drug test administered by the NCAA carries a year suspension for PEDs. For recreational or "street drugs," it's a half season, six games for football.

Consequently, Baker's career is over as he's a senior. Brown and James have to apply to be reinstated and could miss the start of next season.

Near the end of the 2015 season, defensive back Tony Brown was suspended prior to the Crimson Tide's postseason with the initial penalty slated for six games. It was later reduced to four games, but he missed the start of the 2016 season.

Brown made his first career start at Tennessee. He started five games and played in 12 games, but has been dealing with a turf-toe injury.

Senior Lester Cotton Jr. will likely start at left guard against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.