51 Days Away from Bama Kickoff: Carson Tinker
Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight one former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. Let's look today at one player whose story should be an inspiration to any Crimson Tide fan, Carson Tinker.
Carson Tinker suited up in Crimson and White from 2008-12, serving as the Tide's long snapper for the final three seasons of his career. The Decatur, AL native was a member of three national championship teams ('09,'11,'12) and is widely loved among fans for not only his dedication on the field, but his passion off of it.
Tinker is fondly remembered for his perseverance following the 2011 tragedy that rocked the city of Tuscaloosa. On April 27, 2011, an EF-4 tornado struck the Druid City, leaving nothing but destruction in its path.
The then-junior was among those that suffered major loss as a result of the disaster. Tinker's girlfriend, Ashley Harrison, and himself were huddled in a closet together in his downtown Tuscaloosa home when the tornado ripped the pair from closet and into the sky.
Tinker was knocked unconscious and landed nearly 50-yards away in a nearby field. The long snapper awoke later in the hospital to learn Harrison had sadly lost her life.
Now, 32, Tinker speaks of the tragedy with a new perspective. Talking to the Tampa Bay media in 2021 as a member of the Buccaneers, Tinker said, "If people are inspired by my story, I’m just a normal guy. God has been able to work through me, and I hope people can see that.”
In the aftermath of the disaster, the city of Tuscaloosa banded together like never seen before, working to rebuild the once bustling area. Tinker and the Crimson Tide football team took many opportunities to help the community, and he was eventually nominated by his teammates to receive the Disney Wide World of Sports Spirit Award on behalf of the team.
After receiving the award in 2011, the long snapper said, “I’m not the only one that’s gone through something. There’s a lot of people that went through the same thing,” Tinker said, “I don’t like how the spotlight has been on me in particular. We’re trying to take this opportunity to be a blessing to someone else.”
Since his final season at Alabama, Tinker has spent time with several NFL teams across an eight year career. His first four seasons were in Jacksonville, but he has since spent time in Tampa Bay, Las Vegas and even Los Angeles, winning a Super Bowl ring in 2022.
As of now, it looks as if Tinker's football career may be coming to a close, but the veteran could certainly be of use to a team in a pinch this season. Outside of his NFL career, Tinker is also an author and runs a foundation called Be A Blessing. In 2014, he wrote his first book titled, "A Season to Remember: Faith in the Midst of the Storm." which chronicled his experiences during the 2011 football season while at Alabama.