Saban slides onto the NFL coaching radar, again


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.

35 responses to “Saban slides onto the NFL coaching radar, again

  1. Saban, who flopped as an NFL coach, demands an unqualified brown noser that has been out of football entirely for 5 years be his GM.


    Seriously, the Lombardi stuff has got to stop. Can’t wait for the, “Chip Kelly and Lombardi seen vacationing together – ChipBardi” rumors to start though.

  2. A King would only leave his Kingdom if there is something better over the horizon…and a smart King would know that there is in all probability, not.

  3. Bad ideas all the way around. Browns are showing some signs of life finally, why bring in the Nick-tator to alienate everyone in and out of the organization (including the fans)? Some guys belong in college, he is one of them.

  4. Saban is coaching at his final stop…..he WILL retire as head coach of the Tide…….that is……until his dream job opens…..he WILL be the next coach of the Patriots….

  5. I just heard that Bill Cowher bought a house in Cleveland and he’s dating Lombardi’s sister.
    See, I can do that too!

  6. and in other news I might buy the winning lottery ticket today if I manage to pick the right ticket. that has the same chance of happening as what you just wrote.

  7. Whomever hires Saban, just know that the secomd things get tough for him, he quits. Sure he demands toughness from others; but of himself, none.

    And he loves going for two early in games.

    Terrible NFL coach.

  8. Lombardi is an emBAREassment to all the media jerks who perpetuate his crap because of their need to be a part of a story…any story, no matter how ridiculous.
    These Lombardi “rumors” are insulting to all the supposedly involved parties, Saban, Banner, Haslam, and yes even Josh McDaniels. All are intelligent men who would not think of any professional association with brown-noser Lombardi.
    Put that barking dog down please

  9. dude likes the college scene, he’s already loaded, he has recruits lined up to win titles, why the heck would he go to the Browns, that is a ulcer waiting to happen.

    oh boy

  10. I just don’t see it happening. He makes like $5.5M a year as a head coach! Alabama also has enough money to raise it if need be! He’s won 2 titles in 3 years, looking for 3 in 4 and 2 consecutive. He has recruits lining up to be at Alabama, not him trying to find recruits like most schools. Not to mention, he has probably more power than any head coach, college or professional. It’s safe to say that he pretty much runs the University of Alabama. So, unless he gets paid as much as an average QB in this league (around $8-11M), I just don’t see it happening.

  11. Saban left Miami not because he wanted to be a College coach it was because they didn’t sign Drew Brees. I heard him say it at a coaches clinic on MOF Coverage. (It’s online)

    He said he had Drew Brees all signed up and the team Doctor said he felt Brees wasn’t a BIG risk. Ownership agreed and overrode Saban’s choice.

    Then he had to spend another year under scrutiny while Brees was dominating for New Orleans.

    Thats why he left, ownership screwed up… He wouldn’t have left if he felt Miami was committed to winning…

  12. Dear God,

    Please send a sign that this is true. Or a sign that Saban is going anywhere. Don’t really care where, just that he’s going to be anywhere but Tuscaloosa.

    Beaten Auburn Fan

  13. He’s a good coach but a even better recruiter. Kids go to his program bc of the possibility to play in the NFL. He can’t recruit in the NFL.

  14. That jerk doesn’t belong in the NFL. It’s a man’s league and Saban has shown he’s not a man by lying to all of his players right before taking the Dolphins gig, and then not even saying goodbye to his Dolphins players when he took the Alabama gig. He is not a good enough coach to pull off success in the NFL, and he’s a dirtbag. Sounds like a perfect choice for Oakland.

  15. Anyone who would replace Tom Heckert, after the job he’s done rebuilding the Browns’ 53, with a dude like Lombardi is nuts! And I don’t think Jimmy Haslam is nuts. So, stay tuned and we’ll see what the rest of the Browns season looks like. They’re on a pretty good roll now that they have most of their team back from injury. Except for two drops, this team could easily be 7-6 right now and in the hunt for an AFC wild card. And Haslam knows it!

  16. Eventually Nick is going to give this another shot. It’s worth more money, he wants to win at the next level, and some stupid owner is going to give him the control he wants. The guy is a control freak to a fault. And you cannot believe anything he says. So I think this is him floating the idea of trying something new to see if it can get traction.

  17. “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”

    Gosh, hard to believe you never made it big as a writer.

  18. I’m pretty sure that Shurmur and Saban are pretty good buddies. Not saying Saban wouldn’t jump for the dollar though. The other rumor that seems to be floating is that if the Nussmeier (current Alabama OC) leaves for a college head coaching job and Shurmur gets fired from Cleveland that Shurmur would be Saban’s #1 choice.

    I’m not sold on Shurmur, but I’m glad the guy is actually showing some fire now. Even in losses he seems to be getting at officials, players, and showing some emotion. He seemed like a statue the first year there.

    The Browns don’t seem to get it though. Hire coach to a bad team, gain some sort of momentum in the 2nd or 3rd year, then fire the coach. Like Shurmur or not, bringing in another coach almost guarantees another rebuild 4 win season as Joe Thomas, Brandon Weeden, Joe Haden, etc get another year older and closer to free agency.

  19. Saban is a prototypical college coach and doesn’t have the mindset to be a successful NFL coach.

    Saban needs the control and that pedestal you get with being a college coach. He also needs those major advantages you get from the college game in the ability to recruit any player you want from the nation.

    Also in the NFL I think it’s more important for a coach to foster relationships with their players since these guys aren’t 3 or 4 years and gone but could be with your team several teams. They are grown men that don’t want to be treated as tools or talk down to as kids.

  20. He’s not an NFL coach. Big mistake if you hire him. His success in college is due to his great recruiting ability. Recruiting & drafting are totally different.

  21. Didn’t the Browns go through this with Butch Davis?

    Very good coach at the college level but such a control freak. That doesn’t seem to transition to the professional level and dealing with MEN.

  22. I think Saban returned to college ball because his style of coaching works at that level and age group. There is far less control a coach can have over a group of “grown” men with fat bank accounts.

    But with new CEO Joe Banner at the helm of the Brown’s organization, we’re beginning to hear about more pedigreed men mentioned to fill positions that will translate to winning.

    Saban wants to be a winning coach and would need a great deal of control. I’d like to see him take another shot at the NFL in Cleveland.

  23. Pedigreed men? Are you kidding me??? Translates to winning?? Where on Lonbardi’s resume have you seen anything resembling success??? The only reason he’s even linked to these rumors is because his “people” floated them to begin with! The guy is a bum! Talented front office execs don’t work for HBO! Heckert has a hell of a lot better track record! And how the hell do you consider guys like Josh McDaniels pedigreed men? The guy tried to single handedly destroy Denvers franchise! Every party involved in these rumors has shown that they can’t hack it at the top in the NFL! So why exactly would Cleveland want to regress and go through another rebuild with a new staff? Haslam didn’t get to where he is by doing what’s bad for business.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!