Alabama Coach Nick Saban confirmed Friday that former Maryland head coach DJ Durkin has been "observing" the Crimson Tide football operation, but he hasn't been hired. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Former Maryland Coach DJ Durkin has been spending time with the Alabama coaching staff, Nick Saban confirmed Friday. But the Crimson Tide coach said Durkin has not been hired by the university.

“DJ Durkin is spending a few days with our staff in Tuscaloosa from a professional development standpoint,” Saban said in a statement, which reporters posted to Twitter. "He has not been hired in any capacity at the University of Alabama. He is simply observing our operation as many other coaches have done through the years.”

Durkin’s role is not completely clear, but AL.com reported Thursday he had been helping the Crimson Tide “in a consultant-like capacity” this week. According to ESPN, Durkin has been at Alabama’s facilities "meeting with defensive staff members and watching tape.”

Maryland fired Durkin on Oct. 31, just one day after he was allowed to return to his position as head coach, a decision that had prompted a wave of criticism. He had been placed on administrative leave at Maryland in August, and his professional status in College Park had remained unclear while two independent investigations — one focused on the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair and another that examined the culture of the football program — had progressed.

Last week, the Terps replaced Durkin with Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who is expected to remain on Alabama’s staff through the team’s College Football Playoff schedule.

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