Saban Decision Near
The Miami Dolphins could find out today whether they'll retain Coach Nick Saban, who's considering a lucrative contract offer from the University of Alabama.
The school's athletic director, Mal Moore, reportedly was in the Miami area Monday to meet with Saban and deliver a contract proposal worth about $4.5 million per season over as long as 10 years.
Saban has three seasons remaining on his five-year contract with the Dolphins with salaries totaling about $13.5 million. He told his players in recent weeks that he was staying with the team, and he repeatedly said publicly that he would not accept the Alabama job. He stated it the most emphatically on Dec. 21 when he said, "I am not going to be the Alabama coach."
But the school kept pressing him through his Memphis-based agent, Jimmy Sexton, and Saban was said Monday to be contemplating the offer. He met with Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga on Monday, and the two were tentatively scheduled to meet again today.
The Dolphins have gone 15-17 in two seasons under Saban, including 6-10 this season.
Huizenga lured Saban from LSU, where the coach had won a national championship, prior to last season. Saban, a former assistant coach to Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns, readjusted to the pro game easily, leading the Dolphins to a 9-7 record last season and barely missing the playoffs. Saban repaired the organization's relationship with tailback Ricky Williams, pairing him with rookie Ronnie Brown successfully last season. Expectations for this season soared when the Dolphins traded a second-round draft pick to the Minnesota Vikings last offseason for quarterback Daunte Culpepper.
But Williams was suspended for this season for a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Culpepper hadn't fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered last season while with the Vikings and played in only four games before being shut down for the remainder of the season, and the Dolphins were a major disappointment.
Saban would become the highest-paid coach in college football if he accepts the Alabama offer.
By Mark Maske |
January 2, 2007; 9:52 AM ET
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