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College Football

Nick Saban quickly dispels any notion that he’s interested in return to NFL

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The speculation only began in earnest Tuesday morning, courtesy of a column in the New York Post, but Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach quickly and convincingly put the kibosh on any suspicion that he has any interest whatsoever in a possible return to the NFL head coaching ranks.

Saban, speaking at Sugar Bowl Media Day in New Orleans, La., was asked about the column in question, in which it was argued that he would be an ideal fit for the vacant New York Jets head coach job. He had no interest in adding any fuel to the essentially unlit fire.

“Let me start by saying I have no interest in any NFL situation,” Saban said, per the New York Post, about the Jets’ coaching vacancy.

The belief that Saban was a perfect fit for the Jets was floated originally in a column written by the Post’s Mike Vaccaro and published in Tuesday’s edition, but it arguably was more of a fanciful look at the vacant position, not to mention a challenge to Jets owner Woody Johnson to make a “big hire.”

But Saban disputed any notion that a return to the NFL is tempting, suggesting he’s much more comfortable in the world of college football.

“Everything is a little bit more business-like, everything is a little bit more geared to financial motivation for players, coaches, people in all ways,” Saban said of the NFL. “I missed that opportunity to sort of have a program that might impact and develop young people to have a better chance to be successful in life.

“I learned something about myself, and I learned that maybe my best legacy as a coach or a person or whatever may be better realized in college because some of those things we felt like we had success at and maybe that was what we should be focusing and putting our energy in. I never thought about going back to the NFL because of that.”

Saban of course has about 7 million reasons annually to stay at Alabama, not to mention the fact that he has risen to iconic status in Tuscaloosa and is revered and respected for his accomplishments with the Crimson Tide.

Comparing his level of success at each respective coaching level also provides compelling evidence as to why Saban is much more comfortable in the world of college football. During his two-year tenure with the Miami Dolphins, Saban complied a 15-17 record before bolting for Alabama. In stops at Alabama, LSU, Michigan State and Toledo, Saban’s career coaching record is 177-58-1, as noted by the Post.

To take another stab at the NFL is filled with much more tangible risk for Saban than any realistic possibility of career-defining rewards. There’s also those previously mentioned 7 million reasons why Alabama isn’t such a bad place to continue building upon his already-remarkable legacy, either. It is paying off for Saban on several fronts, both literally and figuratively.

(photo credit: AP/Gerald Herber)