Nick Saban compares his attempt to sign Drew Brees to NFL teams considering drafting Tua Tagovailoa: 'I think it's the same scenario'
We’ll never know how long Nick Saban would have coached in the NFL had the Miami Dolphins signed Drew Brees instead of Daunte Culpepper but that remains one of the greatest “what-ifs” in the history of the NFL and the SEC.
At that time, Brees was coming off a shoulder injury that ended his season and led the San Diego Chargers to hand the team’s starting quarterback duties to a young Phillip Rivers. With Brees out of a starting job in San Diego, Saban tried to land Brees in Miami, but as the Alabama coach has made clear many times before, the Dolphin doctors would not medically clear the signing of the free agent quarterback.
Brees ultimately landed in New Orleans and teamed up with Sean Payton to form arguably the most prolific quarterback-coach tandem in NFL history.
During a Wednesday appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Saban compared his experience attempting to sign Brees to NFL teams currently evaluating Tua Tagovailoa heading into the 2020 NFL Draft.
“It was the same scenario, it wasn’t – our first choice was to take Drew Brees. The medical people made that decision (to pass on Brees) relative to Drew Brees’ shoulder, his situation, it was his throwing arm and all that,” Saban said on the show. “That was a medical decision, it was not an organizational decision. You know, we wanted to take Drew Brees, he’s the first guy that we brought in, he’s the first guy that we made a deal with. But it was a medical issue that created that.
“So, this might be the same scenario for whatever team is interested in Tua. It’s, you know, that’s gonna be a medical decision, I don’t think it’s gonna be a performance issue.”
Saban then cautioned NFL teams from making the same mistake the Dolphins did when they passed on signing Brees all those years ago.
The way the Alabama coach sees it, you pass on Tua, you are going to come to regret down the line.
“I think it’s the same scenario,” Saban added. “If you pass on a guy, he has a chance to be one of the great players in the history of the NFL, in my opinion.”