How close was Nick Saban to leaving the Alabama coaching job for a role with ESPN.

It sounds like it was close enough to the point of where there were some serious preliminary conversations.

John Talty, the senior sports editor and SEC Insider for AL.com, talked with Brandon Marcello of 247Sports to promote his new book, “The Leadership Secrets of Nick Saban” and described the timeline in 2013 when ESPN made overtures to the Saban.

“Before the 2013 even happened this guy Nick Khan, who’s now the co-CEO of the WWE, went down to Tuscaloosa to talk to saw and that’s where some of the early groundwork was and if there was a media opportunity, what that might look like,” Taity said.

Alabama finished 11-2 that season and lost the “Kick Six” game to Auburn that inevitably cost the Crimson Tide a shot at competing for the third consecutive SEC and BCS championship.

Saban, however, went to California for the BCS Championship Game between Auburn and Florida State and met with representatives from ESPN.

“The meeting [with ESPN] ultimately ends up happening in California while Auburn is playing in the national championship,” Talty said. “He has this meeting with Jimmy Sexton, his agent, and John Wildhack, who at the time was the No. 2 at ESPN, he’s not the Syracuse AD. They have this long conversation about if Nick were to leave and go down the media route what that would like.

“He particularly zeroed in on a College GameDay role,” Talty continued. “I think that’s the thing that interested him the most. One of the things that John told me about that conversation was that Saban kept coming back to over and over again was the question he had, ‘how is this like a team?”

Saban decided to stay at Alabama and has managed to win 3 CFP championships, 6 more SEC championships and coached 3 more Heisman Trophy winners to become arguably the most decorated coach in the history of college football.

But with the coach turning 71 in October fans may wonder if this book is a sign for the future. Could you see Saban leaving Alabama for ESPN or other television opportunities?