TUSCALOOSA — Inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Practice Facility, Butch Jones mingled about, wearing a crimson Alabama pullover while hordes of NFL personnel flocked to the 13 former Crimson Tide players participating in Wednesday’s Pro Day
Alabama remains “interested” in hiring former Tennessee coach to its football staff as an analyst, but coach Nick Saban could not confirm his addition when he met with reporters, citing clerical issues.
“I don’t know where that is,” Saban said. “We have issues that we have to go through to be able to hire somebody from another school, and I haven’t gotten a report on where that is right now. We are interested in him being a part of our staff.”
Jones was fired after five seasons in Knoxville, amassing just a 14-24 record in the SEC. He lost all five matchups against Saban’s Alabama bunch, too, including a 45-7 drubbing last season inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt replaced Jones, who was fired with two weeks remaining in the season.
Reports surfaced last week that Saban contacted Jones about a position on staff and a photograph circulated on social media this weekend showing the 50-year-old Jones inside an Alabama apparel shop near campus.
Should Jones’ hire become official, he’d join a decorated list of dismissed coaches who’ve joined Saban’s Alabama staffs in analyst roles. Former USC coaches Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian were both offensive analysts. So, too, was Mike Locksley after his unsuccessful stint at New Mexico State and an interim head coach title at Maryland.
Locksley is now the team’s offensive coordinator.
Wednesday appears to offer more proof that a deal with Jones is near. Jones was present for all of the three-hour event, speaking with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Lions coach Matt Patricia and former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, among others.
“He’s got a lot of experience,” Saban said of Jones. “We always had a lot of respect for him when we had to play against him, so that’s probably why we’re interested.”