Nick Saban bristles at criticism of using former NFL players in practice

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With the NFL artificially preventing college football players from entering the league due to trumped-up concerns that they aren’t physically ready to compete with grown men, the decision of Alabama coach Nick Saban to use former NFL players on his scout team undercuts that principle — and exposes it for the nonsense that it is.

But don’t criticize Saban for doing something that seems inappropriate in light of the NFL’s loud insistence that players less than three years removed from high school aren’t ready to face grown men. Because Saban doesn’t like to be criticized, for that or for anything.

[E]verybody is complaining that we did it and they want to change the rule,” Saban said on his weekly radio show, via Michael Casagrande of “We didn’t break any rules. If they want to change the rule, they can change the rule. I don’t care what rules they change if it’s the same for everybody. I just wish people would quit complaining about what we do — that’s allowed by the rules — and why don’t they just do it. I hear this all the time. I hear this all the time.”

Just because the rules allow something doesn’t make it right. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with able-bodied college athletes competing against able-bodied former college athletes. The problem with this approach arises from the impact it has on the credibility of the league’s refusal to allow college-age players to attempt to play pro football until they have spent three years out of high school.

The next step, barring a change in the rules, possibly will entail former college players who currently don’t have NFL jobs joining the scout team at their college and then leaving when they have another NFL opportunity. At that point, guys like Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops can accuse them of quitting on their teammates.

36 responses to “Nick Saban bristles at criticism of using former NFL players in practice

  1. How can you change a rule that doesn’t exist? Like the MLB not having a steroid rule but still went after offenders once the game was restored thanks to users.

  2. Why do the most insignificant things always become a controversy these days?

    This is almost as bad as Harbaugh complaining that he got outcoached by Belichick.

  3. Much ado about nothing. And this has NOTHING to do with the inability of younger college players to enter the NFL draft. Alabama players weren’t PLAYING against former NFL players; they were practicing with them. It’s practice, even if there is minor contact. Clearly, Saban is trying to provide an opportunity for a former player of his to keep him busy and to help him stay in shape, while also allowing his players to spend time with a former legend of the program. You said “just because it isn’t against the rules doesn’t make it right”. WHAT ISN’T RIGHT ABOUT THIS??? The fact is that Mr. Florio has a stance regarding draft eligibility of college players, and he is taking this square peg fact and trying to fit it into his round hole argument. He is distorting the impact of having a player such as Richardson on the scouting team to further his own ends, and that is lousy.

  4. Just because the rules allow something doesn’t make it right.

    Wrong. It does make it right.

  5. Just because the rules allow something doesn’t make it right.

    Wrong. It does make it right.

  6. A college coach helping former players out while also giving his current players an opportunity to interact with guys who have been where they want to go and help them to learn about mistakes. It sure seems like a terrible thing all around for the people involved, if nobody is getting hurt and rules aren’t being broken then there is nothing wrong.

  7. Cal used Beastmode to help their team practice. Nobody cared about that? I think Lynch is the last guy I would want to practice against if I were a college defensive player. And yes, he was on the scout team.

  8. The next thing you’ll know, they will be complaining about how he ceremonially drowns freshmen in a crimson tide.

  9. With all the pissant stuff that the NCAA freaks out about, it’s kind of shocking this is allowed. I can’t imagine it will be for much longer now that the cat is out of the bag and other schools will start whining about it since not many will have the pool of guys that Bama has to pull from.

  10. I love guys who complain about things that have been collectively bargained. The union did it to protect its member. So stop complaining it has no merit and not relevant to anything

  11. Its amazing how big crybaby Brian Kelly who cant even beat Navy and Urban Liar who cant even beat Penn St are worried about Saban doing something they could do if they wanted.

    Sucks to be a crybaby loser.

    And Florio ur take on this issue is 100 percent idiotic. Jeez. If everyone can do it whats the issue.

    If other coaches cant get their alums to do it thats on them. Maybe they should build better relationships with their players

  12. When Harbaugh was bringing his Michigan players down south for satellite camps he wasn’t breaking any rules yet Saban was complaining about it.

    Love the hypocrisy there coach.

  13. Funny to see a former attorney whining about doing something within the rules. How many defendants get acquitted because their attorney found some obscure rule or loophole that allows them to achieve this even though the defendant was actually guilty?

    Why would you expect anyone else to do whatever they want within the rules as long as they don’t violate any of them?

  14. All companies have rules. Look at the NBA if you like watered down pro basketball. The one and done rule in college hurts the NBA. Haven’t watched it in years.

    The NFL would have watered down play also. No one has a right to have a certain job.

    If you don’t like the rules, do something else.

  15. redsoxu571,
    Well stated. I cannot believe he buys the physical excuse as he stated. Clearly, the 3 year rule is not to prevent young players from entering due to their safety. It is to ensure the NCAA remains financially viable so that the pool of decent/scouted players remains in tact for later use by the NFL.

  16. Wasn’t it obvious to everyone that the NCAA rule, restricting young players from making the jump to the league, was nothing more than a “money grab” by the NCAA to keep some of their top players for an extra year. It puts fans in the seats, and makes the teams more competitive for the allusive title. In exchange for the NFL rule, the league continues to have the college players act a a farm system for the NFL with no compensation; Pretty good deal for both parties.
    The rule has absolutely NOTHING to due with potential injuries, but it gives a warm and fuzzy impression.

  17. He gave a couple of his former players jobs who are out of work. Lets his kids see NFL guys in action and his out of work guys can stay in shape or it gives them a safe place to plan the next phase of their lives. Actually seems pretty cool to me, and something of a family atmosphere.

  18. What top coaches, like Saban and Belichick, continue to show me is you just gotta be a little nuts to be great at the job. One didn’t know there was an election, and the other had no idea what his friend stood for, and hasn’t bothered voting for years. Shouldn’t be surprising when coaches melt down or burn out every once in awhile.

  19. This is not an argument of what is right or wrong, it’s an issue of what is permitted and what isn’t. Saban stays within the rules and uses his creativity to find ways to make his club more competitive. College football in a business it’s not like college lacrosse or field hockey….if the NCAA doesn’t like it make a new rule….the creative guys will find other ways to work within the rules to be as competitive as possible. I am not an Alabama guy, just someone that is tired of the all the whining from the folks who want to legislate everything. If you want to stop stuff like this stop making colleges rich when they win.

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