Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban appeared on the Dan LeBatard Show on Monday, where he talked about his time with the Miami Dolphins and tried to put to rest any speculation that he would return to the NFL.
When asked about regrets over his tenure with the Dolphins, Saban cut to the chase:
“The biggest thing is not handling the way I left [Miami] very well,” Saban said. “That’s always been a thing with me that I’ve never really felt good about.”
On his reasons for staying with the college game, Saban said what is generally agreed upon by those that have followed his career; that coaching at the college level gives him a much greater ability to impact the lives of players before they are thrust into the NFL world:
“College football has been great for us. I enjoy the relationships with players, the positive impact you can make on their life personally as people, and their development,”
On staying at Alabama, Saban did about as much as he could to assure fans that he was staying put, while not speaking in the kind of absolutes that got him in trouble in Miami in the first place:
“I really enjoy what I’m doing here right now. I’m getting old now. I don’t think we’ve got too many moves left in us. You develop a lot of relationships and loyalties to the players you recruit and the players you have on the team and the people you have in the organization. I don’t think it’s really fair to leave. I regretted when I left LSU because I left a lot of relationships there. Hopefully I’ll be able to stay here for a long, long time.”
Critics will say that Saban left the door open to a move, and that’s probably true. Saban has been dogged for years by sore losers in Miami, over what supporters would call an attempt to tread carefully while looking at a new opportunity, and detractors would call flat-out lying.
Why does this continue to be news? Because Saban is the best college football coach in the country, and he coaches at Alabama, a state most people in the media and cultural centers hate for its very existence. Someone as good as Saban has no right, in their minds, to leave the coasts for flyover country, much less the heart of Dixie.
Saban may yet leave. He likely won’t. But if he does, we can only hope Alabama fans are able to move on more quickly than the Miami media.