GREAT ARTICLE AND ANALYSIS HERE. I AGREE WITH YOU ABOUT SABAN. I THINK THAT THE COACHING CHANGE WHICH IS ON THE WAY THAT WILL SURPRISE PEOPLE IS COACH SPURRIER WILL RESIGN AT THE END OF THIS SEASON FROM THE USC GAMECOCKS. COMMENTS HE HAS MADE WITH THE PRESENT SITUATION TEND TO MAKE ME BELIEVE THAT THIS WILL SOON BE THE REALITY IN COLUMBIA. I WISH THAT IT WASN'T BUT DO BELIEVE THAT IT WILL BE. DO YOU HAVE ANY OPINION?
Apparently the website — has pushed the “Fret!” button for some Alabama fans. A writer for the site suggested that Nick Saban could be a target of new Cleveland Browns owner Jim Haslam. The Haslam family — behind all those Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers you see on America’s interstates — has long been the booster family for the University of Tennessee.
So if Haslam could woo Saban to the Cuyahoga River he’d be a) landing Bill Belichick’s ex-defensive coordinator in Cleveland for his new franchise and b) get him out of the SEC and away from his favorite college team’s schedule.
That’s the story that keeps popping up in my email inbox anyway (from fearful Alabama fans and a hopeful Tennessee fans).
But it ain’t gonna happen.
As we suggested several weeks ago, if the Browns are going to target anyone currently out of an NFL head coaching job it would likely be ESPN’s Jon Gruden. Gruden has ties back to Tennessee and therefore the Haslams — Lord knows Vol fans claim to see him popping up around Knoxville anytime a UT coach winds up on the hot seat — and he’s a native of Sandusky, Ohio. He even interviewed with the Browns last year but reportedly wanted more power than then-owner Randy Lerner and GM Mike Holmgren were willing to offer.
Saban, on the other hand, said this offseason that Alabama will be his last coaching stop. And before you throw out the whole Miami Dolphins thing — as — – note that Saban made his comments about Bama during the offseason. When he denied that he would leave Miami for Alabama earlier this decade he was in the middle of a season and trying to keep his team from quitting on him down the stretch. There’s a big difference between what a coach will say in season and out of season.
“I learned about myself by going to the NFL. Why do I have to go do it again?…
I had my chances and I’ve had chances since. I think you have to know yourself well enough to know that if I’m happy doing what I’m doing now, why do I need something else? Before as a coach, even when I was at LSU, I went all those years and it was always work hard to get the next opportunity.”
Saban has also admitted to people close to him that he never should have left LSU for the Dolphins. Like Rick Pitino leaving Kentucky for the Boston Celtics, Saban let his ego get the better of him and left a great situation in order to test himself at a higher level. For both personal and professional reasons that didn’t work out for him and it’s highly doubtful — at least in this writer’s mind — that Alabama’s coach will make the same mistake twice.
And just to fend off another comeback before it’s made — yes, Pete Carroll did return to the NFL after a great run at Southern Cal. But Carroll wanted the power to make his own roster decisions, which the Seattle Seahawks gave him (and, previously, the New York Jets and New England Patriots had not). Also, if Carroll wasn’t fleeing LA due to the NCAA’s impending hammer-drop on the Trojan program then it’s the biggest case of coincidental timing in the history of sports.
Carroll’s situation was different from Saban’s. Saban’s situation is different now than it was when he was at LSU, eyeballing a grander stage. The odds of him landing in Cleveland are a heckuva lot longer than those of the aforementioned Gruden landing in Cleveland.
UPDATE — The program director for WKRK-FM in Cleveland says his station did not report that the Browns are actively pursuing Saban, despite rumors now circulating on the internet.