By Gary Lloyd
Former Alabama star offensive guard Chance Warmack signed autographs and took photographs with a couple hundred crimson-clad Alabama fans Saturday at Books-A-Million in Trussville.
Some fans brought hats. Some brought magazines with bookmarked pages to be signed. Some brought brand new footballs. Some brought duffel bags full of all three.
Warmack was willing to run the ink dry on the 10 or so Sharpies he was provided.
“We love our fans so much,” said Warmack, who projects as one of the first 10 picks in April’s NFL draft. “They bring a lot of support to us
. I just love my fans to death. Everybody feels the same way on the team.”
Alabama has won back-to-back BCS national championships and three of the last four. Warmack said playing at Alabama, in the national limelight, has prepared him for the transition to the NFL.
“We do this every day,” he said. “We reach out to our fans every day. We love our fans. I just want to reach out to the fans and everybody on the team feels the same way.”
Warmack said he doesn’t have a favorite NFL team, that he’ll be happy with whichever team drafts him. He wants team to take note of his versatility and his willingness to work hard to be the best.
“That’s the main thing I want (the NFL) to know, is that I’m just a hard worker,” said Warmack, a 6-foot-3, 320-pounder who played high school football in Atlanta.
Warmack works hard, but he has fun, too. He’s known for wearing his No. 65 jersey tight and above his belly, a move that has come to be called “Warmacking.”
“I started wearing my jersey up my junior year and it just kind of took off from there,” Warmack said. “Somebody was like, ‘Maybe you should try to promote that a little bit.’ People seemed to like it, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Warmack encouraged fans to post photos of themselves “Warmacking” to Twitter and Instagram. Some have. There are multiple Twitter accounts dedicated to Warmack’s belly. The star offensive lineman was told about it throughout last season.
“I don’t know who made it but I appreciate whoever did that,” he said.
Warmack said being the focus of so many fans is not surreal.
“I’m just giving back to the fans,” he said. “They do a lot for us. They support us in everything that we do, so I just wanted to help the fans in any way I can.”
Fellow Alabama offensive lineman D.J. Fluker was scheduled to attend the signing with Warmack, but he was in Mobile for Senior Bowl activities.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.