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Crimson Tide photos / Alabama fifth-year senior offensive lineman Chris Owens, who started at center during the Crimson Tide's playoff run, announced Friday afternoon that he will return to Tuscaloosa for the 2021 season.

Alabama offensive lineman Chris Owens signed with the Crimson Tide in 2016, when Lane Kiffin was offensive coordinator and when defensive coordinator Kirby Smart had just walked out the door to become Georgia's head coach.

Owens isn't through with his time in Tuscaloosa.

The fifth-year senior, who started at center for Alabama's convincing playoff victories over Notre Dame and Ohio State, announced Friday afternoon that he will use the NCAA's extra year of eligibility that is being allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Owens was needed at center to replace Rimington Award winner Landon Dickerson, who suffered a knee injury in the waning moments of the Southeastern Conference championship game last month.

"I was born in New Orleans, and because of Hurricane Katrina, our family moved to Arlington, Texas," Owens posted on social media. "I had no idea my new life would turn out like this — a three-time SEC champion and a two-time CFP national champion with a bachelor's and master's degree. After long discussion with my parents and Coach (Nick) Saban, I have decided to use my final year of eligibility at Alabama and return to school for one final season.

"I believe it allows me to not only maximize the amount of value I can create for myself as a player, but it gives me one more chance to create even more memories with my brothers on this team."

The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder made three starts overall this past season, getting the nod at right tackle for the 52-3 win at Arkansas that wrapped up the regular season. In his two starts at center against the Fighting Irish and the Buckeyes, the Tide racked up 1,058 total yards.

Owens made four starts as a junior in 2019 and has played in 37 career games.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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