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Published: Saturday, 1/15/2011

Rodriguez donates Michigan apparel


WAYNE, Mich. — A Salvation Army store near Detroit has enjoyed a busier Saturday than usual after former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez donated a dozen bags of Wolverines apparel.

Rodriguez, who was fired Jan. 5, gave more than 400 items to the store in Wayne, about halfway between Ann Arbor and Detroit. Around 300 people braved a cold day with snow flurries to show up at an auction in the store's parking lot, where fans had a chance to bid on shirts, jackets and hats.

The auction lasted about two hours, and Maj. John Aren said the turnout was greater than anticipated. He said the Wayne store has been struggling and that Rodriguez's donation was "a real blessing."

Rodriguez made the donation Monday. He was not at the auction.

Alabama's Barron stays

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — All-American safety Mark Barron said he'll be back for his senior season at Alabama, which had already lost three star juniors.

The junior made the announcement Saturday, the final day for underclassmen to enter the NFL draft. Barron led the Crimson Tide with 75 tackles and had three interceptions despite missing the team's Capital One Bowl victory over Michigan State with a torn pectoral muscle he injured in the Auburn game.

"I took a lot of time to make this decision and it was really one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make," Barron said. "I really don't have any regrets about making this decision."

He was a AP All-American last season second team and a third-teamer as a sophomore.

Tide coach Nick Saban said Barron could improve his draft status as a senior, especially given the current labor situation and his injury.

Any team that drafts an injured player would want to rehab him so they could make sure he'd be able to play the next season, the coach said.

The Tide is losing three juniors — tailback Mark Ingram, wide receiver Julio Jones, and defensive end Marcell Dareus — to the NFL. Linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw have said they will return.

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