In December 2006, then-Dolphins coach Nick Saban was spending plenty of time trying to convince plenty of folks that he wouldn’t be the next coach at Alabama.
Six years later, as he prepares to pursue yet another NCAA championship as the Alabama coach, it’s inevitable that he’ll be linked to jobs at the next level — especially with so many jobs possibly becoming available after the 2012 season ends.
Earlier this year, Saban’s name surfaced (primarily via speculation) as a potential candidate to coach the Browns. Over the weekend, Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe provided a slightly meatier nugget.
Bedard writes that Saban has “let it be known” that, if he returns to the NFL, he’d want to work with former Browns-turned-Ravens colleague Mike Lombardi, whose name has surfaced as a potential candidate to succeed Tom Heckert as G.M. of the Browns franchise that returned to the NFL in 1999.
There’s no indication that Saban, who is now in his 60s even if he doesn’t look it, would try to return to the NFL. But with a growing war chest of crystal footballs and a two-year run of mediocrity in Miami that surely gnaws at him like a Little Debbie oatmeal creme pie, Saban could decide that he wants to swing the bat one more time in the big leagues.
That said, he wasn’t happy as an NFL head coach, poking around for possibilities back in the college ranks after only one year of running the Dolphins. We’d heard in October of 2006 that Saban wanted to go back to the college game, and the rumors persisted until they culminated in the one rumor he consistently denied.
“I’m not going to be the Alabama coach,” he eventually insisted.
And then, out of the blue, he was.
His return to the NFL, if and when he chooses to do it, could come out of the blue in similar fashion. And it could, in theory, put him back in orange and brown.
If nothing else, the possibility of landing Saban would force the folks in the Cleveland media who are grumbling about the possible return of Lombardi reconsider their position.