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Nick Saban

Nick Saban on why he won’t return to the NFL: “I got a challenge at Alabama all the time.”

Nick Saban and Alex Leatherwood hold 2021 CFP National Championship trophy for Alabama
Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

Through 14 years at Alabama, Nick Saban stands alone as college football’s most dominant figure.

He took a moment of reflection in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game and released tears of joy after Alabama defeated Ohio State. During his time of success, national media and rival fans continue to ask one question: “Will Saban ever go back to the National Football League?” After the Crimson Tide captured its third national title under Saban in 2012, people started linking him to NFL jobs such as the New York Giants. Reporters, radio hosts, and others have had conversations about what’s keeping Saban from giving the pros another try. When he is addressed about it, Saban’s response has been on his appreciation for the program at Alabama and the joy he has for the collegiate game. He has been able to impact young men, and regardless of his NFL career not panning out, it was not his fault.

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Last week, the seven-time national champion was featured on the Rich Eisen Show.

Saban touched on recruiting, Alabama’s offseason program, DeVonta Smith, Bill Belichick, and Urban Meyer.

With Meyer leaving the college atmosphere for the NFL, Eisen asked Saban if he still desired the pros.

YouTube video

*Coach Saban speaks on not returning to the NFL at the 14:36 mark

“No,” Saban said. “I just feel like at this stage of my career we’ve invested a lot in this program [Alabama] and don’t feel like going anyplace else and starting over would be something I want to do. I feel like it is a new challenge here every year. I feel like I took a new job this year. We had five coaches to leave, we have players going out for the draft, so it’s like starting all over and building a program every year. I look at it that way. I got a challenge here all the time.”

To echo Saban’s point, Alabama is in the conversation each year to win a national title. People thought he would struggle with the coaching turnover and early signing period; however, the 69-year-old remains on top of the sport. No matter the obstacle, he manages five-star egos and keeps the Tide rolling. He did not have full control in coaching the Miami Dolphins, but Alabama granted him what he wanted.

Saban is still having fun and will have a bigger challenge next season. The Tide is replacing starters at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and on the offensive line. His run at an eighth national championship will be special.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith

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