There are three marquee job openings in the NFL still open in the Browns, Jets and Broncos. Could all three teams be holding out just a little longer just to take a crack at Alabama head coach Nick Saban?
Browns interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens was looking like the top candidate earlier this week but given the fact that there has been no white smoke emanating from general manager John Dorsey’s office indicates that Cleveland is still searching for its next head man.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported just before the Alabama versus Clemson title game that multiple NFL teams were interested in talking to Saban about their head coaching vacancies. Obviously Saban wasn’t about to hop on a plane from Santa Clara to Cleveland or Denver or East Rutherford in the hours ahead of the biggest game of the season but he now has a few free hours on his hands. The front offices of these respective teams wouldn’t be doing their due diligence if they did not at least inquire about college football’s most brilliant mind of the 21st century.
Saban was actually interested in potentially coaching in New York on several occasions as he “reportedly threw his hat in the ring” when the Giants ultimately hired Ben McAdoo several years back, according to the New York Daily News. He was also a candidate for the Giants job in 2004.
But the Jets simply do not have the same franchise cache as Giants, and it’s unlikely that Saban is much of a fan of the organization that his best NFL bud – Bill Belichick – openly despises and is in the same division as.
The Browns remain the best bet for Saban if he were to jump to the NFL at the age of 67. It was plain to see in the great NFL Network documentary “Cleveland 95” that Saban is wistful about his time as defensive coordinator of the Browns. There was a great sense of unfinished business among Belichick and Saban in that documentary. Obviously Belichick is not going to Cleveland. Nor is his current offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Why Saban to the Browns or Broncos remains most unlikely though is that Saban would want near full control of football operations wherever he went. Dorsey isn’t about to give up that power in Cleveland, and John Elway certainly isn’t going to budge in Denver.
One thing that got people talking on Monday night was that Saban certainly was acting odd after the National Championship blowout loss as he got sentimental about the media of all things.
“As always I appreciate … I know you all think I don’t like the press but I really do love you for what you do,” Saban said. “To give a lot of positive self-gratification to a lot of our players by recognizing the things they do well. We certainly appreciate all the interest you create for the sport. College football is a great game and something that’s great for these young player to be able to learn a lot of lessons in life. We appreciate you so much for that.”