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Former college football legend unveils his thoughts of why Nick Saban retired

Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

Some will always have reserved thoughts about him, but Johnny Manziel is a college football legend.

The native Texan brought Texas A&M to heights it never saw before, brought the program a Heisman Memorial Trophy winner, led the Aggies to a victory over Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2012, and provided confidence to a university that has not kept it up since he left. Manziel, also known as “Johnny Football” or “Johnny Heisman,” is very opinionated. The 31-year-old was featured on Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay podcast. He got addressed a question about his thoughts on why Nick Saban decided to retire from coaching in college football. Saban propelled Alabama football to six national titles in 17 seasons.

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Manziel told Sharpe that name, image, and likeness or NIL led to Saban’s departure from college football.

“I think NIL changed everything for what he’s know,” Manziel said about Saban. “It’s not the firm handshake anymore. It is not the old school ways of the world where your word is your bond. In my opinion, Saban does not want to deal with that anymore.”

Manziel makes a valid point about Saban coming from a different generation. In his time, your word was your bond. Saban believes in commitment, excellence, hard work, perseverance, and seeing things through to the end.

Today’s generation of NIL athletes do not carry the same beliefs.

Some have the mindset of if things are not catered to them, then why should they be around. It can be seen as a selfish “me” and not we mentality, which led to Saban understanding the game may not be for him anymore. He got better with maneuvering the NCAA transfer portal after 2019 and made some headway with NIL, but it did reach a point where it became too much. 

Saban is now thoroughly enjoying his retirement. He is spending more time with his children, grandchildren, and golfing as well.

Saban will remain involved in sports as he’s now an analyst for ESPN. 

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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.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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