“To be honest with you, he was just trying to learn so he could be a better player,” Saban said after Thursday’s practice. “I think a lot of people would say, ‘Wow, the guy is one of the best, if not the best, and certainly from a career standpoint probably about as good as anybody’s been in the history of the league. After all the experience and knowledge that he has, he’s going out and trying to seek more knowledge and understanding of the game of football so he can play better.’
“It’s a great example for a lot of young people, whether they’re playing high school, college, Pop Warner or whatever, and it’s something that I have tremendous respect for. I really enjoyed visiting with him.”
It sounds like Manning and Saban have some history.
Manning, who has largely kept himself out of the public eye since the Broncos’ Super Bowl loss to Seattle, has “been a friend and very well-respected for a long time,” Saban said. They crossed paths when Manning was with the Colts and Saban was the head coach for the Miami Dolphins, and Saban’s been friends with Manning’s father Archie for a “long, long, long time.”
It doesn’t hurt for one of the greatest head coaches in college football to talk to one of the greatest NFL players ever.