New book reports Nick Saban was considering leaving Alabama for ESPN in 2014

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By , Audacy Sports

Nick Saban has been engrained into Alabama Football ever since he won his first National Championship in 2009. It would honestly be hard to imagine him anywhere else.

In an era where winning is the only thing and college coaches are given shorter and shorter leeches, Saban has set the current gold standard in the sport but one crushing defeat at the hands of a bitter rival had him consider leaving the school.

According to a book, The Leadership Secrets of Nick Saban from Al.com senior sports editor John Talty, Saban was in talks about joining ESPN. He had originally spoken to current WWE president and former agent Nick Khan, who worked for CAA and represented top-flight sports talent, including Kirk Herbstreit, Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd, Mike Greenberg, and numerous others.

The idea of joining the worldwide leader came about after the infamous "Kick Six" Iron Bowl game that saw Auburn’s Chris Davis catch a short field-goal attempt from Alabama kicker Adam Griffith, running back for a touchdown to give the Tigers the win, 34-28. Following that loss, Talty notes that it sparked Saban's interest in a broadcasting career even more.

After talking to Khan and a number of other important behind-the-scenes players about joining ESPN's marquee show, College Gameday, Saban questioned John Wildhack, former ESPN exec and Syracuse athletics director on a number of questions about what life is like at ESPN, from its organizational structure to what it was like to work on a team.

As well all know, Saban opted to stay at Alabama and won three more rings. According to Widhack, he didn't make the decision based on their conversations, which he claims went well.

“Not because we didn’t have a good conversation and not because he wasn’t intrigued by television because he was intrigued and he was interested,” Wildhack said in the book. “If he wasn’t interested, he never would have done it in the first place. But I also didn’t think he was ready to step aside as being a coach.”

Even though that door may have closed, back in 2014 when the news initially broke, Herbstreit seemed to be aware of the rumors, admitting that Saban would join the set of Gameday before he ever considered going back to the NFL.

"Nick Saban will be on the set with us before he's a coach in the NFL," said Herbstreit via AL.com. "I really believe that after he's done at Alabama, whenever that time is, whether it's a year, five years, whatever it is, I really believe there's an itch there about becoming an analyst."

As of right now, Saban isn't going anywhere. His team is lead by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and they just missed out on winning the seventh title since his arrival to Tuscaloosa. According to ESPN's College Football Playoff prediction model, Alabama has a near 80% chance to make the semifinals this season.

“The Leadership Secrets of Nick Saban” will be released on Aug. 9.

Follow Jasper Jones on Twitter: @jonesj2342

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