While the Atlanta Falcons don't open their regular season for another eight days, Falcons CB Javier Arenas will be at the Georgia Dome on Saturday afternoon, supporting his former Alabama Crimson Tide teammates, serving as the honorary captain during their matchup against the West Virginia Mountaineers.
"For Alabama to consider me as honorary captain, it's an absolute blessing," Arenas said Saturday. "It isn't just any university; it's Alabama, a prestigious university, a place I played my heart out for."
Arenas appeared in 52 games with 28 starts at Alabama and became the first college football player to ever gain over 1,500 punt return yards and 2,000 kickoff return yards in a career, posting eight total return touchdowns, including seven punt returns and one interception return, falling one return score shy of the NCAA record. As a senior in 2009, Arenas started 13 games and earned first-team All-America and first-team All-SEC honors, after helping lead the Crimson Tide to a BCS National Championship. Arenas' Falcons teammates, and former Crimson Tide teammates, WR Julio Jones and OL Mike Johnson, have also been recognized as honorary captains, each having played for Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
"He has a lot to do with constructing my career as a football player, both on a collegiate level and a professional level," Arenas said of Saban. "He instilled a lot of things in me that are necessary to be successful in life, most importantly, and on the football field. I wanted to go out and play for him because I love sports of course, but when you got something or someone to play for, it just gives you that much more juice and it makes it that much more special and I have that here with the Falcons as well."
Saturday's kickoff between Alabama and WVU is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.