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#pounditFriday, October 30, 2020

Muhsin Muhammad talks about viral Nick Saban video, his second chance

Nick Saban

Alabama head coach Nick Saban went on one of his famous media rants several years ago when discussing why he prefers to give players second chances, and the player he cited as an example is former Michigan State and NFL wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad. After the rant went viral again this week, Muhammad shared his thoughts on it.

Saban’s passionate speech came in 2014, when he ridiculed the media and public for always wanting to kick players off teams rather than working with them and giving them second chances. He mentioned how he gave Muhammad a second chance in 1993 after police found a gun in the glove compartment of the receiver’s car on campus. Muhammad ended up serving jail time because he was on probation at the time for a previous marijuana arrest, but Saban allowed him to remain with the Spartans.

“Everybody in the school, every newspaper guy, everybody was killing the guy because he got in trouble and said there’s no way he should be on our team,” Saban said in 2014. “I didn’t kick him off the team. I suspended him, I made him do stuff. He graduated from Michigan State. He played 15 years in the league, he’s the president of a company now, and he has seven children, and his oldest daughter goes to Princeton. So who was right? I feel strong about this now, really strong.”

Muhammad said the clip of Saban’s rant seems to resurface almost every year, and he is still grateful for the way the coach handled the situation.

“It was early on in (Saban’s) career and there was a lot of controversy surrounding the decision that he made. He stood up to that and defended it,” Muhammad told Max Henson of Panthers.com on Wednesday. “He evaluated my character and thought I was deserving of a second opportunity. I’m grateful for that, and Nick is probably grateful too that I didn’t make him look bad.”

Saban has always been big on second chances, and we got another glimpse of that recently when he invited a controversial former NFL player to speak to his team. In the case of Muhammad, Saban’s decision to ignore media scrutiny and continue working with a player worked out. You can understand why the six-time national champion feels so passionate about the subject.

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