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 Orleans Saints.
After Dolphins coach Nick Saban he has long been ill that the team’s medical staff essentially vetoed an agreement to sign Brees. This was disputed by at least one journalist who stated that the final decision was Saban’s, who said no.
The subject came during a Q&A session with Saban at the Texas Alien Coaches Association’s annual convention on Tuesday. Saban was asked to name some of the sacrifices he had made in his coaching career. Saban carried his decision to leave Miami, which he said came largely because the Dolphins’ doctors failed Brees over his physique over Saban’s objections. Saban said, away Chris Hummer of 247Sports:
“Watch when the Miami Dolphins sign Drew Brees. Drew came to Miami when I was coaching here. He had to be the quarterback. That’s all we need. We only went 9-7, and all we needed was a quarterback to be a playoff team. We will be signing Drew Brees as free agent. Dr. (James) Andrews operated on him, and I went to Birmingham to see Dr. Andrews, and he said he would be fine. Our doctors have failed him physically. (Drew) was here 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 physique until New Orleans signed him. That’s how it ended up in New Orleans.
“So, I decided right away when it happened that we don’t have a quarterback in the NFL, we’re not going to win. I’m leaving here. I’m not here. I’m not going to be responsible for that. That doctor doesn’t know his a– 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 to Miami, where he wanted to go.Some things you can’t control. When we left, no one understood why. That’s why. “
The Dolphins signed Daunte Culpepper instead of Brees. Ironically, Culpepper played in just 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 fairly consistent in his reputation as Dolphins haven’t had Brees. He still seems to be drawn to this as well. It is certainly attached to his story, whether it is a beautiful revisitation or not.