Alabama’s pro day tends to draw a big crowd, which is nothing new. In addition to likely future Alabama staffer Butch Jones being on the scene today along with the likes of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, others caught on camera at the pro day event were former Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez and former Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema.
Bielema’s presence at the Alabama pro day could likely be explained by Bielema’s recent connection with the Patriots. During last week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, it was reported Bielema was working as a representative of the Patriots. There has been no announcement on whether or not Bielema will be joining the Patriots staff this offseason, but Belichick has been known to bring former college coaches with him to events like these. Belichick previously took Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano after Schiano had been fired by the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014, according to NESN.
Rodriguez is a bit of a new one though. He previously had no documented connection to any NFL team following his removal as head coach at Arizona, which continues to be a legal issue being taken care of off the field. Perhaps Saban was throwing Rodriguez a bone as coaches tend to do in allowing Rodriguez an opportunity to mingle with other coaches and scouts with the intent of finding his next job. These pro days can be good opportunities for disgraced coaches as well.
It is also worth a reminder that Rodriguez previously turned down an opportunity to be the head coach at Alabama. Alabama ended up hiring Saban instead, and Rodriguez eventually landed at Michigan. Safe to say these two coaches have taken contrasting career paths.