The Crimson Tide coach indicated Tuesday that the frustration in trying to attain that level of gratification when he coached the Miami Dolphins is what drove him back to college football.
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“In the two years that I was here I had a very, very difficult time thinking that I could impact the organization in the way that I wanted to or in the way that I was able to in college,” who left the Dolphins following the 2006 season after going 15-17 in two seasons.
“And it was very difficult for me. Because there is a lot of parity in the NFL. There's a lot of rules in the NFL.”
Saban, who can bring in a blue-chip class of recruits every year at Alabama, said the restraints of the draft and salary cap are difficult obstacles to overcome in the NFL.
“You can draft a player that is there when you pick. It might not be the player you need. It might not be the player that you want,” Saban said. “You have salary-cap issues. We had them [with the Dolphins].
“You’ve got to have a quarterback. We had a chance to get one here -- we sort of messed it up,” he added, alluding to the choice of obtaining Daunte Culpepper instead of Drew Brees, who went on to win a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints. “So I didn’t feel like I could impact the team the same way that I can as a college coach.”
Considering all that he has achieved since leaving the Dolphins, along with a number of coaching vacancies in the NFL, led to inevitable speculation that he might seek a redo in the professional ranks.
“I came to the Miami Dolphins for the best owner, the best person that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work for,” Saban said, referring to then-Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga.
“I kind of learned from that experience that maybe this is where I belonged. And I’m really happy and at peace with all of that.”
Saban didn’t sound peaceful in having to address the issue again. His emphatic assertion that he intends to remain at Alabama sounded very similar to the one he delivered about remaining with the Dolphins – just before he jumped ship and high-tailed it to Alabama.
“How many times do you think that I’ve been asked to put it to rest? And I’ve put it to rest. And you continue to ask it,” he said of the NFL rumors. “So I’m going to say it today that, I think somewhere along the line you learn a lot from the experiences of what you’ve done in the past.”
Later, in exasperation (see video above), he added, “No matter how many times I say that, you all don’t believe me. So I don’t even know why I keep talking about it.”