Saban regrets mishandling Miami exit

June, 23, 2010
6/23/10
9:37
AM ET
Did you know that McDonald's milkshakes now are served with whipped cream and a cherry under a dome lid?

Wacky, I know.

Sometimes established behavior needs to be altered.

I buzzed the McDonald's drive-thru on the way home from Barnes & Noble, where I picked up the latest issue of The Sporting News. I'd read online snippets of Steve Greenberg's Q&A with Alabama head coach Nick Saban and wanted to check out the whole interview.

For four years, Saban remained unapologetic about his departure from the Miami Dolphins. Saban insisted he wasn't leaving for the Alabama job and then did just that after two disappointing NFL seasons.

In The Sporting News interview, Saban expressed remorse.

Greenberg asked how being branded a liar affected Saban.
"Well, honesty and integrity is an important part of our character, my character. Those are words that we use all the time. I think that in my effort to protect our team at Miami -- because I had not talked to Alabama and did not talk to them until the season ended -- I expressed that [character is important] to [Alabama] through my agent and said it was up to them whether they wanted to wait and that I would not make any promises. I would talk to them then. I would only reassess my circumstances and our situation as a family at the end of the year. But I kept getting asked about this over and over and over, and in trying to defuse the interest and leave the focus on our team in Miami [long pause] ... I had a responsibility and obligation to the players on that team, the coaches on the staff, and I didn't want that to be the focus of attention. So would I manage it differently? Absolutely. I would still have the same integrity for our team, but I just would not answer any questions relative to Alabama.

"But I also feel like as a professional, you should have the opportunity -- just like LeBron James does or anybody else -- to make a decision based on what's best for your future and your family. And it may not be something that everybody agrees with, especially the fans of Cleveland or the fans of Miami. But you learn about yourself when you do things. As a family, we learned a lot about ourselves. ...

"I only feel badly that we did not stay there and finish the job, but at the same time we're very, very happy to be in a situation like we're in at Alabama. And happy because I really feel deep down that I learned I really am a college coach. We just make a bigger impact in college on the young people that we deal with, and that was something I missed and wanted to be a part of again. But I do apologize for any professional mishandling that might have occurred."

Greenberg asked if Saban might follow former USC coach Pete Carroll's path and return to the NFL. Saban said he has his family were "really satisfied" at Alabama.

Saban also said "I don't really feel like we failed" in his two seasons with the Dolphins. He admitted they miscalculated when choosing Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees, but cited the club's 4-12 record the year before he arrived and guided them to a 9-7 mark. They went 6-10 in his second season.

The record was bad enough for Dolfans, the lying even worse.

Saban's apology comes way too late.

Not even whipped cream or a cherry on top is going matter now.

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