Nick Saban‘s first go-round in the NFL didn’t go so well. Two more national championships — and possibly a third looming — later, though, and speculation is running rampant that the Alabama head coach may once again make the jump to the pro ranks.
Among those not exactly convinced that Saban is ready to do so, however, is Browns running back Trent Richardson, who played three seasons for Saban at Alabama before being drafted third overall in last year’s draft.
“I can’t see him coming to the NFL,” Richardson said Wednesday, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “I can see him staying at Alabama and retiring at Alabama.”
Saban spent two seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and 2006. He guided the Fins to a 15-17 record in those two seasons, which included second and fourth place finishes, respectively. After that, Saban decided to return to the college game, where he enjoyed plenty of success at LSU from 2000-04 — success that included a 2003 national title.
Since returning to college coaching, Saban has enjoyed even more success. He guided Alabama to national championships in 2009 and 2011, and his Crimson Tide will square off with Notre Dame for college football’s ultimate prize this season. That success has many wondering whether Saban might welcome a new challenge, especially since his first pro stint didn’t go as well as he probably hoped. The Alabama coach has been adamant that he’s staying put, though.
“This is what we’re happy doing,” Saban said, according to AL.com. “This is what we like to do. But nobody really believes that. So, you know, maybe it doesn’t matter. I don’t know what I have to say or do, but it’s kind of funny to me.”
But perhaps we shouldn’t completely rule out a move by Saban. After all, he has been known to bend the truth a little bit in the past when it comes to such decisions.
Saban vehemently denied that he was going to take the head coaching job in Tuscaloosa following the Dolphins’ 2006 season, saying flat-out that those weren’t his intentions. However, Saban ultimately took the job, which rubbed some people in Miami the wrong way.
Now, with a few NFL teams potentially looking at coaching changes in the offseason, Saban-related speculation is once again heating up. But despite the competitive fire inside Saban, Richardson still thinks that his former coach is happy with how things are going with his current gig.
“The way he plans his game and the way they plan games is at the highest level at their level,” Richardson said. “So why would you change for that? The way he lives his lifestyle down there, the way he loves football, he loves the intensity of football and every game counts because one game, you might just be out.”
For now, Saban is still “in” at Alabama. But as we’ve seen in the past, nothing is really ever etched in stone when it comes to the fiery coach.
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