From 1991-94, Nick Saban was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, coaching under Bill Belichick. Saban, of course, has moved on from the NFL, becoming perhaps college football's best head man at Alabama.
Is Saban still helping his former boss? Cleveland Browns' head coach Mike Pettine, a former assistant for Rex Ryan with the New York Jets, thinks Saban may have given Ryan's playbook to Belichick and the Patriots.
">@Browns coach Mike Pettine isn’t what you get, just like his defense. Glimpse into intriguing mind http://t.co/s5eUBC8HHk
— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard)
— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) June 19, 2014
">June 19, 2014
Back when Pettine was coaching the Jets, from 2009-12, he suspected the Patriots had gotten their hands on his team's playbook before they played. Pettine told a story that occurred at Wes Welker's wedding in 2012.
The details: Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady was bragging to Jets' linebacker Mike Smith, who was Welker’s college roommate, that his team may or may not have New York's defensive playbook.
“It didn’t shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway,” Pettine said. “He gave one out to [Alabama coach Nick] Saban and I was like, ‘Don’t you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.’”
Pettine said he planned for that to happen, though, making his playbook thin by design.
“I don’t put a lot of graduate-level information in it,” Pettine said. “We know in places like New England, it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”