Nick Saban famously left the Dolphins to coach Alabama after promising he wouldn’t. But Saban says that might never have happened if he’d been allowed to sign the quarterback he wanted.
In an interview on ESPN, Saban repeated the story that he wanted to sign free agent quarterback Drew Brees in 2006, and that the deal was about to get done when the Dolphins’ team doctors nixed it. Brees was coming off a shoulder injury that the Miami medical staff said was too serious to overcome.
When it didn’t work out with Brees, the Dolphins moved on to Daunte Culpepper, while Brees went to the Saints. We all know what happened next: It was Culpepper who struggled to recover from his injury the previous year and was never a good quarterback again. Brees became an All-Pro and Super Bowl MVP and has never missed a game due to injury in his nine seasons as a Saint.
As Saban looks back on that, he wonders if he and Brees would still be together in Miami if the Dolphins’ doctors had cleared Brees’s shoulder.
“If we’d had Drew Brees, I might still be in Miami,” Saban said.
Those comments are surprising not because Saban wishes he’d signed Brees — any coach would want to sign a quarterback like Brees — but because Saban is suggesting that there’s a scenario in which the NFL, not college football, becomes his true calling as a coach. Perhaps some NFL owner will hear those comments and think about giving Saban a call the next time his team has an opening.