When Steelers fan Nick Saban was with Browns, his friends and family rooted against him

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

When former Alabama football running back Najee Harris was selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, he wasn't picked by just any team. 

He was picked by his coach Nick Saban's favorite team growing up: The Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Saban, a West Virginia native, grew up about three hours from Pittsburgh. His dad would take him to one Steelers and Pirates game every year. 

"That was like the best thing that happened all year," Saban said Thursday. 

He spotted a few people wearing Harris' Steelers jerseys at Baumhower's Victory Grill during his weekly radio show, and Saban volunteered a story. 

Saban was the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns in the early 1990s. When they played the Steelers, he got about 100 tickets for his friends and family to see the game. 

The problem? All of the people with whom he grew up, all of his best friends, all of the people with whom he played high school football, they were all Steelers fans. 

"Not one person rooted for the Browns," Saban said. 

Then Alabama radio announcer Eli Gold jumped in.

"Did they," Gold said, "at least offer to pay? 

"No," Saban said. "Hell no." 

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Contact Alabama football reporter Nick Kelly: nkelly@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly