Nick Saban Alleged Seizure Incident with Dolphins Paints Ugly Picture

T.J. Mcaloon@@tjmcaloonContributorDecember 7, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 24: Head Coach Nick Saban of the Carolina Pantherslooks on from the sidelines against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of their NFL Pre-Season Game at Bank of America Stadium on August 24, 2006 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Nick Saban’s time with the Miami Dolphins can be summed up with one word: odd. 

It was odd when he left LSU to go to the Miami Dolphins. And it was odd when he left the Dolphins to coach at Alabama. When he left both coaching positions, he had the fanbase very upset with him. 

He made Dolphins player Manuel Wright cry during training camp. Now there are accusations from a former player, Heath Evans, that Saban stepped over offensive lineman Jeno James when James was on the floor after collapsing after practice.

Evans said while on Miami’s Jorge Sedano Show on 790 The Ticket:

SEDANO: Give me an example of something he did to someone while you were there that made you shake your head, you’re like, "That stuff doesn’t work here."

EVANS: Well, the first day of two-a-days. We had about a three-hour-plus practice in the morning in that south Florida sun. You guys know what it’s like down there in late July, early August. And then that night we had another practice under the lights, if I recall I think it was about from 6 to 9.

Jeno James, our best offensive lineman at the time, comes in and collapses after practice, uh, vomiting all kinds of stuff that would make a billygoat puke, eyes rolled in the back of his head. Myself, about four other lineman are trying to carry him from the locker room, to the training room. 

Obviously it’s a moment of panic, everyone, you know, we don’t know if this guy’s, you know, gonna die, I mean, the whole deal. But he’s so big and sweaty and heavy that we actually have to set him down in the hallway between the locker room and the training room.

Nick Saban literally just starts walking in, steps over Jeno James convulsing, doesn’t say a word, doesn’t try to help, goes upstairs, I don’t know what he does. But then obviously they get Jeno trauma-offed to the hospital.

Saban calls a team meeting about 10:30 that night, comes down and says, "You know, the captain of the ship can never show fear or indecision, we’ve always gotta have an answer, and so I had to go upstairs, that’s why I walked over Geno like that, I had to collect my thoughts and decide what’s best for our team."

With the way he coaches his players, does this incident surprise you at all with Saban? 

Later in the interview Sedano goes onto to say:

Well, listen, I know for a fact that people in that office, they weren’t even allowed to look at him, for God’s sake! Like, I heard a story about his secretary telling him he had a nice haircut, he kind of like grunted at her and kept walking. And then someone later, this Scotty O’Brien, that hatchet man that he had, came up to her and says, "You’re not allowed to speak to the coach! Don’t you dare speak to the coach!" Just nonsense that Scotty O’Brien—he had a hatchet man! What coach has a hatchet man? 

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

This alleged incident paints a scary picture of a head coach who likes to have complete control over everything that happens on his football team. These stories show Saban as the leader of the team who no one is allowed to question his authority or speak out of line to. 

When that incident happened, local journalists, like Greg Bedard of the Palm Beach Post, reported it. In that article, one of the Dolphins player described the scene as “scary” and “shocking.”

Per Carlos Frias of the Palm Beach Post, cornerback Reggie Howard said, “It was frightening at first, no one knew what was going on.”

In Frias' piece he says that several Dolphins said they saw James throwing up in the locker room before the second practice, then froze when they saw him lying on the ground as the medical staff treated him.

In Saban’s two years he’s made a lot of enemies in the Miami area. From the way he left the team to these alleged incidents, it does not make Saban seem a very friendly coach. 

In Miami, these alleged stories make Saban out to be an egomaniac who did not allow anyone to be bigger than him. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.