Nick Saban considering a return to the NFL?

According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe, there’s a chance the Cleveland Browns will hire Michael Lombardi as their next general manager.

An NFL source told Bedard that Lombardi could ultimately come in and land Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

According to the NFL sources, Saban has let it be known that if he returns to the NFL — where he flopped, going 15-17 with the Dolphins from 2005-06 — it would likely be with Lombardi playing Pioli to his Belichick.

One of Saban’s many missteps in Miami — the first being that he accepted a job he really didn’t want — was hiring a general manager in Randy Mueller who did not know the Belichick personnel system. Mueller, who was a good personnel man when running his own ship with the Saints, had to learn Saban’s system on the fly, and it never really clicked.

Saban could well be looking for his next/final NFL opportunity if he wins his fourth national championship next month in the BCS title game against Notre Dame. If the Browns (Saban is from northern West Virginia, played for and coached at Kent State, and was a Browns assistant under Belichick) and Lombardi are dangled, he may indeed take the plunge again.

Despite Saban’s personality and his issues in Miami, an NFL owner would be a fool not to make a run at him. He’s a phenomenal coach if he can figure out the personnel and get the right quarterback. And if you want Saban, you need Lombardi.

I’m sure Alabama fans would stage a riot if they ended up losing Saban to the Browns.

The fact of the matter is that Saban doesn’t have anything else to prove as a college coach. He’ll go down as one of the all-time greats no matter what.