Alabama QB Mac Jones heads into Senior Bowl on gimpy ankle

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Houston linebacker Grant Stuard of Houston and UCF defensive back Richie Grant of UCF (27) celebrate after an interception during the American team practice for the NCAA college football Senior Bowl, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

MOBILE, Ala. – Mac Jones’ last game was for a national championship. The next game he plays is for his NFL draft stock, provided the Alabama quarterback's gimpy left ankle is good to go.

Jones headlines a group of quarterbacks from high-profile programs at Saturday’s Senior Bowl, 19 days after the Crimson Tide beat Ohio State in the title game.

The Heisman Trophy finalist sat out the end of Thursday's final practice of the week after hurting his ankle, leaving his status for the game uncertain. Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said the plan is for Jones to dress out and see how his ankle feels.

“The goal is for him to play,” Nagy said in a text message Friday. “He's a true competitor."

Jones is also the biggest name — especially in this state — and almost certainly the top quarterback prospect at the game.

Jones wasn't regretting coming to the game and working with Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers staff even with minimal time to recuperate from the season.

“Just being in that room, I already learned so much about NFL football,” he said. "They made me better this week.

“I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m super happy I came.”