Nick Saban stays at Alabama, blasts reports that he’d replace Mack Brown at Texas

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, right, is congratulated by head coach Nick Saban, left, as Jeff Purinton, football media relations director, watches after McCarron won the Maxwell Award during the College Football Awards show in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Nick Saban hugged his quarterback after A.J. McCarron won the Maxwell Award on Friday night. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP)

In retrospect, everyone should have just listened to A.J. McCarron and moseyed on about their business.

Earlier this week, the Alabama quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate said his coach had told him he wasn’t leaving and, on Friday night, Nick Saban agreed to a contract extension he says will keep him at ‘Bama for the rest of his career. And Mack Brown, as of today, remains the coach at Texas, in spite of reports and rumors about just how badly Texas wanted to make a Brown-for-Saban move.

“The way this sort of got spun, it was a little bit more like, ‘Okay, he got a new contract at Alabama, so he’s going to stay at Alabama instead of going to Texas,’” Saban told ESPN.com on Saturday. “I never considered going to Texas. That wasn’t even a conversation.  “I knew that if Mack stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career.”

Saban already was the highest-paid coach in the land at $5.62 million a year and now the Tuscaloosa News reports he will make $7 million-to$7.5 million a year at the state university.

“We’ve been trying to do this thing with Alabama all the way back into the season,” Saban said. “It really wasn’t about the contract. It was about staying at Alabama, wanting to be at Alabama, wanting to continue to do good things for Alabama and our commitment to the players here, the university and the community.”

Saban is 79-15 in seven seasons at Alabama and has won three national titles. Brown, who like Saban is 62, reportedly is considering whether to remain at Texas, which isn’t even the best college football team in the state anymore and watched as Robert Griffin III (Baylor) and Johnny Manziel (Texas AM) won the Heisman Trophy.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mack Brown,” Saban said. “Mack Brown is the coach at Texas. He deserves the right, based on his body of work, to be able to leave the program the way he wants to leave the program. It wasn’t fair to him or to me to be speculating about this job, which I haven’t talked to anybody there about.

“Really, the whole thing from my perspective stunk, but there wasn’t a hell of a lot I could do about it.”

Also on The Early Lead

Heisman Trophy ceremony: Jameis Winston seen as front-runner to win