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#pounditThursday, October 29, 2020

Nick Saban reportedly lying about blaming Dolphins’ doctors for passing on Drew Brees

Nick-Saban-Ignored-Convulsing-Dolphins-LinemanNick Saban infamously left his job as head coach of the Miami Dolphins for the University of Alabama after the 2006 NFL season. Saban has been criticized for repeatedly denying interest in the Bama job and then eventually taking it. Saban has also long maintained that his NFL head coaching career would have gone much differently had the Dolphins’ medical staff allowed him to sign free agent quarterback Drew Brees over Daunte Culpepper prior to the 2006 season. In fact, Saban repeated that sentiment in a recent interview on ESPN.

“If we’d had Drew Brees, I might still be in Miami,” Saban said, via Pro Football Talk.

He’s probably right. Brees signed with the Saints instead and led New Orleans to its first Super Bowl, won an MVP and two Offensive Player of the Year awards. He also was honored with eight Pro Bowl selections since 2006, led the league in passing yards five times and touchdown passes four times.

Culpepper, meanwhile, only played in four games with the Dolphins as he struggled to recover from a massive knee injury suffered in 2005 with the Vikings. His career as a productive quarterback effectively ended after the knee injury — his record was 3-17 as a starter in four seasons after that, including his lone season with the Dolphins.

Though Saban has said over the years and continues to say to this day that the Dolphins’ medical staff told him not to take Brees, one reporter says otherwise.

Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, who covered the Dolphins for years with The Miami Herald, tweeted on Sunday that Saban is lying about the situation and that it was his call to sign Culpepper.

Compare that to what Saban said last week to Campus Insiders.

“I know that I commented a lot about this before, but the Drew Brees scenario really soured me a little bit because we really wanted to get him, we had him,” Saban said in an interview with Campusinsiders.com. “Circumstances… The physical didn’t allow us to have him on our team and then he went and had tremendous success.”

When he says “the physical didn’t allow us,” Saban is putting the blame on someone else. Even in his 2010 book “Coming Back Stronger” Brees indicated Saban had some doubts about the quarterback’s ability to return from shoulder surgery.

Via NOLA.com:

Brees asked, “Coach, I know what your doctors believe about me. My question is, what do you believe? Do you believe that I can come back and be better than I was before and lead your team to a championship?”

“Nick Saban paused,” Brees wrote. “That was really all I needed to hear. His pause told me everything.”

Saban can blame his team doctors all he wants, but it sounds like he could have easily overrode the decision and taken Brees had he believed in the QB.

The bottom line is he made a mistake. His decision was based on sound medical reasoning, but it just turned out to be a mistake. Hey, the man’s gone on to have such a great career at Alabama, he really shouldn’t be so hard on himself about the move. Or maybe he is hard on himself and this is another indication that he’d like to return to the NFL to improve on his record there.

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