This is far from the first story that's been written about the Miami Dolphins not signing Drew Brees ahead of the 2006 season because the team doctors failed his physical after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
However, this is the most open Nick Saban -- then the Dolphins head coach -- has been about the decision, and how it affected his future in the NFL.
“Look when the Miami Dolphins were going to sign Drew Brees, Drew was coming 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," Saban told Chris Hummer of 24/7 Sports. "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’ll be fine. Our doctors failed him on the physical. (Drew) was there to sign with us. I actually made a deal with his agent that he wouldn’t tell anybody for 72 hours he failed his physical until New Orleans signed him. That’s how he ended up in New Orleans.
“So, I decided right then when that happened that we don’t have a quarterback in the NFL, we’re not going to win. I’m getting out of here. I’m not staying here. I’m not going to be responsible for this. That doctor didn't know his ass from a handful of sand. Drew Brees plays 15 more years, wins a Super Bowl, goes to nine Pro Bowls. And we didn’t take him in Miami, where he wanted to go. Some things you can’t control. When we left there nobody understood why. Well that was why. There's always a reason. ...
Saban famously said in December of 2006 that he was "not going to be the Alabama coach," a quote widely seen as BS considering he signed a contract to coach the Crimson Tide less than a month later. But this suggests that Saban knew even prior to the 2006 season, that whether it was the Alabama job or somewhere else, there wouldn't be a third season for him with the Dolphins.
Brees was an All-Pro in 2006, his first season with the Saints. While Saban's desired quarterback led the Saints to the NFC Championship Game in 2006, injuries limited Daunte Culpepper -- ultimately acquired instead of Brees -- to just four games for the Dolphins.
As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted, one would think that if Saban kicked and screamed hard enough, he probably could have gotten the Dolphins to pass Brees' physical. Clearly, though, he believes that he's far from the person to blame for what will go down as one of the worst mistakes in NFL history.