Why Nick Saban Would Be an Absolute Fool to Return to the NFL

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IDecember 10, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 17:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide walks back to the sideline after a defensive huddle against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Stop if you've heard this one before. 

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been tied to an NFL head coaching job. Yes, a month before the BCS National Championship Game, another round of Saban-returning-to-the-NFL has already begun. 

And like all the rest of the rumors before this one, Saban would be a fool to even entertain the idea of leaving the college ranks for the NFL. 

Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe advanced the latest round of Saban rumors Sunday morning. 

According to Bedard, Cleveland Browns new owner Jimmy Haslam and president Joe Banner may look at current NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi for a still-occupied general manager position. And according to Bedard's NFL sources, hiring Lombardi as the Browns' new general manager could open the door to Saban making a return to the NFL. 

Lombardi and Saban have ties back to Bill Belichick's days as the Browns head coach in the early 1990s. 

There's zero reason to think Bedard, a well-respected NFL reporter, is getting any kind of bad information about the situation. 

But all those dominoes falling, with the last being Saban signing on the dotted line in Cleveland, certainly seems like a long shot. 

Maybe the most important factor to consider is just how comfortable Saban's job at Alabama has really become. 

A football coaching god, universally respected and capable of taking the Crimson Tide to the national championship in any given season, Saban might have the best coaching gig in America outside the one Belichick's currently holds in New England. Even the argument for Belichick is shaky, at best.

After all, this is Alabama, a college football program drenched in tradition and championships. 

A trip back to the NFL—where he famously flopped with the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06—takes any kind of comfort out of the equation.

Consider this little nugget: Saban has lost 13 total games in six years at the University of Alabama. He lost 17 in two years with the Dolphins. 

Where's the appeal of making the jump back? 

Saban is 61 years old (although he doesn't look it) and has a comfy (and well-paying) job in Alabama, where he's a yearly championship contender. He can mostly handpick his players by showing up on the doorsteps of 5-star high schoolers with a Crimson Tide helmet in his hands. 

In the NFL, Saban would be starting his program over. He'd also be forced to rebuild his reputation at the professional level while also dealing with the unpredictable nature of the NFL draft and free agency. 

The rumors about Saban's return to the NFL will continue to go on, probably until he's done at Alabama. But that decision will continue to be a foolish one for Saban, who is better served staying in the college ranks the rest of his career.