HOOVER, Ala. -- Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters at SEC media days that All-SEC left tackle Cam Robinson and reserve defensive back Laurence Jones faced internal discipline after their arrests on drug and weapons charges and will have a chance to play in the season opener against USC.
The two upperclassmen were arrested in mid-May in their hometown of Monroe, Louisiana. Robinson was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and illegal possession of a stolen firearm, and Jones was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance. However, the district attorney declined to prosecute, citing insufficient evidence.
Saban emphasized that the decision to not press charges was "out of my hands" and that "the facts of the case as they have been advertised are different than what we've been told."
An Alabama official told ESPN that Robinson and Jones were required to take weekly drug tests, undergo routine drug counseling, receive gun education from Tuscaloosa Police, do 26 hours of ride-alongs with police, volunteer with the Police Athletic League and submit to outpatient drug treatment.
"You have to look at the whole picture," Saban said. "Based on the information we got and what they did, that's what we're going to do. That's my decision. I'm also basing this decision based on the type of people these guys have been in our program and what they've done to change their behavior relative to our program."
Saban was involved in a testy exchange with the SEC Network's Paul Finebaum after he was asked why he didn't suspend Robinson.
"Because I'm not going to convict him in public," Saban said. "I was going to get criticized by you and the public and the media because I'm not going to suspend him and I don't really care about that. That's the end of the conversation."
Robinson tweeted reaction Wednesday afternoon, which he later deleted.
People are so quick to react without knowing ANY FACTS.— Cam. (@crobinson_68) July 13, 2016
According to the police report of their arrest, an officer smelled marijuana after approaching the players' vehicle at a closed park. The report alleges that a bag of marijuana and a handgun were in plain sight, and a stolen handgun was found under the passenger seat.
Robinson was allegedly driving the vehicle with Jones as his passenger. The stolen-firearms charge Robinson faced was a felony, while the other charges both he and Jones faced were misdemeanors.
"I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I'm doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years working and sweating while we were all in the air conditioning," district attorney Jerry Jones told KNOE-TV of his decision not to prosecute.
Robinson is an All-SEC left tackle entering his junior season. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound junior started every game since his freshman year in 2014. ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has him as the No. 7 player on his early 2017 Big Board.
Jones, a reserve in his first two years at Alabama, was widely regarded as one of the top safety prospects coming out of high school.