Saban to stay at LSU

Nick Saban flirted with going to the NFL, but in the end has decided to stay at LSU. Jerry Angelo is now forced to continue his head-coaching search.

Saban met with Angelo Friday in Baton Rouge. The meeting reportedly lasted late into the night but it wasn't enough to sway the LSU coach to leave the university and become the Bears 13th head coach. He stated his family's enthusiasm for the area played a big part in his decision to stay.

"I'm very happy to be the coach here, a lot of people have worked hard to make this program what is and we're looking forward to the challenges of the future in terms of continuing to try to be a dominate program in college football," Saban said at a press conference Saturday.

When the meeting between Angelo became public Saban felt compelled to come forward and make his plans to stay at LSU known.

"I had a meeting (with Jerry Angelo), the public knew about the meeting," Saban said. "You'd like to able to do things (in private), I'll be honest with you. I have always felt like I'm a normal hillbilly from West Virginia and being a normal hillbilly from West Virginia you'd think you'd be able to talk to somebody without the whole world knowing, but I know that's not the case anymore. So the fact that that was public information I didn't want it to continue to be rumor and innuendo that I was really considering something that I wasn't considering."

While admitting that he met with Angelo, Saban would not expand upon their discussion beyond saying it was to gage his interest in coming to the NFL.

"Jerry (Angelo) and I talked about it, it was more (like), are you interested in doing this type of thing and that's basically where I'd like to leave it."

In the end it seems Saban used the Bears as leverage to get more money from LSU. There was no official announcement of a contract extension for Saban at the press conference, but he has reportedly been offered at least a six-year deal worth anywhere from $2.7-3 million annually.

Sources said Angelo always had his doubts about the chances of landing Saban, but felt it was worth the chance. In their pursuit of Saban the Bears have only lost one candidate off their list of choices in Jim Mora Jr., who accepted the Atlanta Falcons job on Thursday.

The team will now turn back to the interview stage of the process and the newest name to be added to the list is Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Russ Grimm.

The four-time Pro Bowl guard is one of 25 finalists for the NFL Hall of Fame. He played a key role on two Super Bowl Championship runs with the Washington Redskins. A member of the "Hogs" he was also voted to the all-decade team of the 1980's.

Grimm spent five years with the Redskins as their tight end coach before moving to the offensive line for three years. He wasn't retained when Marty Schottenheimer became the head coach in Washington and was hired by Pittsburgh.

Joe Gibbs had been considering offering Grimm his offensive coordinator position, but the Steelers did not grant Washington permission because he could be in line for the same spot if current coordinator Mike Mularkey is hired as the Buffalo Bills coach.

The fact that Angelo is turning to a candidate with no head-coaching experience and a low profile could be a clue that he's been their plan B all along.

Among names still in the mix are Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and Rams DC Lovie Smith, neither can be hired until after their team is eliminated from the playoffs. Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan, could now get the interview that was postponed to chase Saban. Greg Blache could also get an interview, but is a long shot for the head-coaching vacancy.


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