Survivor Cast-Off Alan Ball Recalls The Exact Moment He Knew He Was Going Home

The former NFL player reflects on his time in a very different kind of game.

After this season's unexpected tribe swap, Alan, Joe, Ashley, Devon, and Desi found themselves as new tribe members. Adding to the stressful new situation, they later found themselves at the fourth Tribal Council of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers for an intense vote.

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With tension still sizzling between Alan and Joe from their earlier arguments at camp, everyone was on edge when it came time for host Jeff Probst to reveal the votes.

Two things made the vote even more interesting. The first came when Devon revealed a "secret advantage" which wound up being a disadvantage—his vote would be blocked. And the second happened when Joe used an Idol to save himself, which ultimately led to Alan's surprising elimination.

Let's find out what the 31-year-old former NFL player had to say about being on the show, his final thoughts on Joe, and how Survivor was a major growing experience.



How shocked were you to see things shake out the way they did at Tribal?

Alan Ball: I was very shocked. I mean, to an extent. You can always expect the unexpected in the game. As Tribal was going, I think the shock of what was happening started to wear off as soon Devon read his "advantage."

I kind of sensed something was about to go terribly wrong. By the time Joe got up to play his Idol, I was like yup, this is exactly how this is going to go now. By the time he handed over the Idol, I knew I was going home at that point.

Things got really heated between you and Joe. Have you guys talked since the show?

Alan: No, no.

If Devon’s vote wasn’t blocked, how do you think things would have been different?

Alan: I definitely think he would have voted Joe off. Before we left camp, talking to him, we had a pretty good understanding of what was going on and I think Devon was pretty genuine and was going to stay true.

Joe was getting on everyone's nerves, not just mine. Everybody was kind of in agreement that no matter what decisions we make for today, today we got to get Joe out.



Looking back, is there anything you think you could have done differently to have stayed longer?

Alan: Yeah, there are definitely things I could have done, I think, but that's not the game I was trying to play. Before we got to Tribal, Joe and Desi offered me numerous times to flip on Ashley and that was something I could have done.

To anybody watching, they know me and Ashley didn't have the best relationship, so that was an option, but to me it wasn't a good option for the simple fact that there's no way I could get rid of Ashley and destroy what we had as a Hero Tribe to give Joe and Desi more power.

I think that would have said a lot about my game if I could have just cut Ashley out of the picture. So I think that wouldn’t have been beneficial for me in the long run, so it's something I didn’t even consider, but it's something I could have done.

Speaking of Tribal, when I got there and after Devon got done reading, even though Joe and I were so far down a bad road, I don't know if it would have helped, but I could have told everyone, "Hey, let's just vote Devon out. He has no vote, so right now he means nothing to either one of us, so let's just get rid of him and let's go back to camp and figure it out two on two."

I think that would have been reasonable but, at that point, I don't know if I could have spent another day with Joe and I feel sorry for Devon and Ashley that they had to. Those are things I could have done differently but it played out the way it was supposed to and I have no regrets on how it played out.



How do you think the Heroes will do this season?

Alan: I'm really pulling for Ben and Chrissy. Those are two of my favorites. They didn't show a lot of how close I got to them, but I really respect and appreciate both of them. Hopefully Ashley and JP can help them get to where they're trying to get to. I'm not pulling for them as much, but hopefully they can be of help to Ben and Chrissy.

Speaking of JP, what was the deal behind him stripping down to prove he didn't have an Idol?

Alan: [ Laughs.] I didn't make him drop his pants. I don't think anyone can actually make you drop your pants. I'm actually surprised myself that he dropped them. He caught me off guard. I was thinking, "You did this without me asking and you're too comfortable doing it." I just had to roll with it. I can't let you know you have me on my heels.

[Following the show] my wife looked at me like, "Really?" and I was like, "I really didn't."

For me, it felt good for the simple fact because I knew I was on the right path. No one really drops their pants to prove nothing. It's kind of like, there's something there if you're willing to take your clothes off.

So it's like, are you going to far to prove a point or what's really behind this? You can look at it either way. For me it was like, I'm sitting fine.



Were you shocked to learn of the tribe swap so early in the season?

Alan: Oh yeah. I feel like our tribe had just kind of figured it out. We had a couple wins, there were no secrets, we were finally getting good footing, and knew we could make it work for as long as we needed to to get to the end of the game.

I was feeling really good at the challenge, and so that switch was devastating. Not only because we switched tribes, but out of all the people I was left on the tribe with, it was Ashley. The way things shook out, I couldn't have written a better story about how my fate went from the time we swapped [and] on.

What surprised you most about your overall Survivor experience?

Alan: The bathroom situation in the ocean was very different for me. And I never saw myself in a million years, killing a chicken and eating it in the matter of an hour.

That was kind of different, but it was enjoyable like I said. I pushed myself in ways I never thought I would. It was definitely a growth experience for me, not to be in control of everything and take everything day to day.



Watch all-new episodes of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers on Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.