Most Miami Dolphins fans cannot stand Nick Saban for the way he told everyone that he had no interest in the head coaching position at the University of Alabama and that he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins - only to then turn around and leave the Dolphins for Alabama. Now, Saban has given everyone a reason to dislike him.
This story has been floating for a couple of days now, but I wanted to see if more came out about it before I commented. Apparently, the story is staying right where it is, and it's time to discuss how despicable Saban's actions are. Normally I despise everything about Saban - GO LSU! - but he has taken it to a whole new level if what former Dolphins fullback Heath Evans states on 790 AM in Miami on Wednesday is true.
But, not everyone recalls the situation exactly like Evans.
Speaking with Jorge Sedano during a radio interview, Evans retold the following story:
"We had about a three-hour-plus practice in the morning in that South Florida sun," Evans recalled.
"Jeno James, our best offensive lineman at the time, comes in and collapses after practice, vomiting all kinds of stuff that would make a billy-goat 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, going to 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."
Evans continued, explaining that a team meeting was called by Saban called after the incident: "‘You know, the captain of the ship can never show fear or indecision," Evans stated, quoting Saban. "'We've always gotta have an answer, and so I had to go upstairs, that's why I walked over Jeno like that, I had to collect my thoughts and decide what's best for our team.'"
Yeremiah Bell, one of just four players still with the Dolphins from Nick Saban's tenure (Jason Taylor, Vernon Carey, John Denny being the others) weighed in on the incident as well. Bell told the Palm Beach Post, "I recall the incident. He had abdominal cramps, full-body cramps. I think it was a lot worse than what Coach Saban knew. I wouldn't say he just stepped over him. Jeno was in pretty bad shape. I don't think us as players knew how bad it was."
Evans was cut later in the year by Saban, but calls the move the best thing to happen to him in his career. He points out that "A) they had to pay me, and B) Bill Belichick picked me up and I learned more football than I ever thought I'd know - but that deciding moment kind of right there of how Nick Saban handled that, I think it always showed the team that ultimately he doesn't really care about any of us players.
"The guy's an amazing football coach at the college level," Evans continued. "How he gets it done isn't my style of coaching or teaching. But ultimately, the guy's got some ways about him that I'm just like, 'Are you human?' I think he might be a robot.'"
James ended up hospitalized that day for dehydration, and stated at the time, that Saban showed up about 45 minutes after James was admitted. He said the coached stayed until after midnight and, "It made me feel pretty good about this team to see my head coach there."
So, if this is a true story, parents of any kid being recruited to Alabama from Saban should know of this story - and should ask Saban to explain it. But, with Bell's statements, and James being happy with his coach's presence at the hospital, this could be a case of a former player exaggerating a situation to make his former coach look even worse.
Either way, though, I still loathe Nick Saban.