Saban left the Dolphins when they didn’t land from Brees
No one disputes that the Miami Dolphins had the opportunity to sign Drew Brees in 2006. The question is who exactly vetoed the deal, putting Brees back on the market to land with the New Brunswick Saints. Orleans.
Nick Saban, then Dolphins coach has long been categorical that the team’s medical staff essentially vetoed a deal to sign Brees. This was disputed by at least one reporter who claimed the final decision rested with Saban, who said no.
The topic was brought up in a question-and-answer session with Saban at the Texas High School Coaches Association’s annual convention on Tuesday. Saban was asked to name some of the sacrifices he made in his coaching career. Saban opened up about his decision to leave Miami, which he said was due in large part to the Dolphins medics failing Brees on his physical exam over Saban’s objections. Saban said, via Chris Hummer of 247Sports:
“Look when the Miami Dolphins were going to sign Drew Brees. Drew used to come to Miami when I was the coach there. He was going to be the quarterback. That’s all we needed. We just went 9-7, and all we needed was a quarterback to be a playoff team. We were going to sign Drew Brees as a free agent. Dr (James) Andrews operated on him, and I went to Birmingham to see Dr Andrews, and he said it would be fine. Our doctors failed him physically. (Drew) was there to sign with us. In fact, I made a deal with his agent that he wouldn’t tell anyone for 72 hours that he had failed his exam until New Orleans signed him. This is how he ended up in New Orleans.
“So I decided at that point that we didn’t have a quarterback in the NFL, we weren’t going to win. I’m getting out of here. I’m not staying here. I will not be responsible for this. This doctor didn’t know his a- because of a handful of sand. Drew Brees plays another 15 years, wins a Super Bowl, moves on to Nine Pro Bowls. And we didn’t take him to Miami, where he wanted to go. Some things you can’t control. When we left there, no one understood why. Well, that was why.
The Dolphins signed Daunte Culpepper instead of Brees. Ironically, Culpepper only played four games with Miami as he struggled to overcome a knee injury he suffered in 2005.
For what it’s worth, Saban has always been pretty consistent in his account of how the Dolphins didn’t get Brees. He still looks irritated about it too. He certainly sticks to his story, whether it’s a fair tale or not.