Not this time, the Crimson Tide senior promised. He’ll get to the front of the line to meet the president when the Alabama delegation makes its return this afternoon. Per tradition, a 1:20 p.m. reception at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. will honor the 2011 BCS national champions.
So will Jones, a star student with a history of humanitarian trips, size up the landmark as a potential future residence?
“You never know. I might be too conservative,” he said. “Maybe I could be the governor of Alabama, but I don’t know if I could be president. But yeah, it’s always fun to go there. It’ll be my second trip to see the president. Hopefully I’ll get to shake his hand this time. I was a little mad the last time. I was a scrub, I guess. … A scrub starter.”
Nick Saban got considerably more face time with Obama on the White House mission following the 2009 national title. This will be his third after winning the 2003 BCS crown with LSU, but he best remembers his first few trips to the nation’s capital.
“When I was a kid, I was a patrol boy,” Saban said. “Everyone knows what a patrol boy is, right? He holds the flag out so people can cross the street when people go to school. Well, for being a patrol boy, you go to go to Washington, D.C., every year.”
It was about a four-hour train ride away from Saban’s childhood home in Fairmont, W.Va. The future coach was fascinated by all he saw.
“Some of those experiences, seeing all those things there, are things I remember from being a kid,” Saban said. “And even though some of our guys act like they’re not really interested, I think they’ll remember all those things.”
Besides the White House, the team will tour a few of the monuments and museums around the city. Saban said they hope to visit Arlington National Cemetery to observe the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
For Jones, the real allure is back at the White House. He’s got a few talking points should he get a private minute with Obama.
“I think I’d have a few things on economic policy to tell him,” Jones said with a smile. “But we won’t get into that.”