Will Nick Saban Leave Alabama for the NFL?

By Connor Muldowney
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban has been the epitome of a journeyman. He has been the head coach of four different teams in the past 15 years and could soon be on the move again.

Saban has had stints in the NFL on three different occasions and according to many rumors, the fourth stint is not too far away. He has been the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide for the past six years ever since leaving the Miami Dolphins.

Well if these are just rumors, they seem to be quite believable– just ask Michigan State, LSU and the Dolphins.

Michigan State fans know all too well how Saban left them high and dry right before their 2000 Citrus Bowl matchup with Florida. Not many fans of the guy in East Lansing.

Where did he go after East Lansing? Well, he took a trip south to Baton Rouge where he became the 31st head coach of the LSU Tigers. He went 48-16 in five seasons before leaving after a Capital One Bowl loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2004 for the Miami Dolphins.

He left a sour taste in LSU fans’ mouths and let’s just say he will never be welcomed back to Baton Rouge with a cheer.

He accepted the Dolphins head coaching job on December 25, 2004– quite the Christmas present for Dolphin fans, right?

Wrong. What did he accomplish with the Dolphins in his first NFL head coaching job? Not too much as injuries to star players and poor play accounted for a 15-17 record in two seasons in the league.

Again, after denying reports that he was planning on leaving the Dolphins for the newly-vacant head coaching job in Tuscaloosa. Shortly after denying these reports, Saban began to salivate at the opportunity to coach a historic program like Alabama.

Weeks later, in January 2007, he once again left a team high and dry and took the offer from the Crimson Tide, becoming their 27th head coach, and maintaining that job ever since.

He has been the best thing to happen to Alabama in years and has led them to five straight double-digit win seasons, including just one seasons in the past five years with less than 12 wins.

He has won two national championships since 2009 and could win his third in four seasons with the Crimson Tide this season as they face Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game.

If he wins, what does this mean for Alabama and Nick Saban’s relationship? He could get bored of dominating college football and see if he can finish what he started in the NFL. He has been dominating the best conference in college football– the SEC— going 62-13 as Alabama’s head coach and winning five outright conference titles as the coach of Alabama and LSU combined.

Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, however, is confident that the sixth-year coach will remain in Tuscaloosa:

“He’s expressed to me on several occasions … that he’s happy here. He feels very comfortable, and I believe him.”

He knows how Saban thinks of the NFL and how he would not want to go back unless the perfect situation represented itself, giving the coach a drastic change of heart.

Saban recently made an appearance on a Miami radio show, apologizing for the way he left the Dolphins and expressing his love for the college game:

“This has been a good thing for my family to be here. College football has been very good for us. The positive impact that you can have on these young men as players and as people, that’s just something that we really enjoy and something that I learned about myself.

As for what his plans are for possibly leaving Alabama for the NFL?

“I really enjoy what I’m doing here right now. I’m getting old now. I don’t think we’ve got too many moves left in us … Hopefully I’ll be able to stay here for a long, long time.”

Should anyone trust his word anymore? Michigan State did and look what that got them. LSU thought they could trust him but he left to pursue his NFL dreams. Then the Dolphins took his word that he wouldn’t leave for Alabama and he did. Has Saban earned the trust of the Crimson Tide, and if so, will he keep it?

Time will tell as he has a chance to take his second NFL head coaching job after this year and it will be interesting to see if the coach finally keeps his word.

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