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Former Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban has not struggled by any stretch since he resigned from the team after the 2006 season to take the head coaching job at the University of Alabama. Having already won two national championships with the Crimson Tide, Saban will go for his third, and fourth overall, next month at the BCS National Championship Game in Miami.
But it was his brief tenure with the Miami Dolphins that was on Saban's mind Monday, when he was a guest on the Dan LeBatard show on 790 The Ticket. Saban addressed his exit from Miami, expressing regret for lying to the media.
"The big thing with me is not handling the way I left well," Saban said. In December of 2006, he addressed speculation that he would leave the Dolphins for the vacant Alabama job, saying, "I guess I have to say it. I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."
Saban resigned from the team and announced his hiring at Alabama less than two weeks later on January 3, 2007. "That's always been a thing with me I’ve never felt good about," he told LeBatard. "I'll probably never feel good about it."
Saban also addressed the long-accepted story that the Miami Dolphins had declined to offer a contract to then-free agent Drew Brees in 2006. Miami instead signed Daunte Culpepper, who only played four games before injuries sidelined him. Brees, meanwhile, went on to win a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints a few years later.
Saban said that contrary to reports stating team doctors deemed Brees' throwing shoulder too damaged to play, the Dolphins made an offer to Brees, but he failed a physical exam. "We thought Drew Brees was an outstanding player, and that's who we made the first offer to," he said.
"Quite frankly, you know, he didn't pass the physical with our organization, so we had to go in another direction and there was nothing any of us could do about that."
That is Saban's story, though it is kind of odd that Brees could fail a physical and no news of that would leak at the time.
Nonetheless, Saban has publicly expressed regret for his ignominious exit, though it will do little to cheer up jilted Dolfans.