Report: Steve Sarkisian heading back to Alabama after turning down NFL's Cardinals

So much for Steve Sarkisian joining Kliff Kingsbury's staff with the Arizona Cardinals. One day after reportedly "closing in" on a deal to be the Cardinals' offensive coordinator, Sarkisian looks to instead be heading back to Alabama, where he was previously an offensive analyst and briefly a coordinator for the Crimson Tide. 

Sarkisian will be rejoining Saban's staff, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN, though in what capacity he will serve upon his return remains unclear. He was reportedly in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Saturday interviewing for the offensive coordinator position, according to the MMQB's Albert Breer. This comes a couple of hours after Mike Garafolo of NFL media reported that Sarkisian was "unlikely" to join the Cardinals.

Additionally, reports that Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long was also in Tuscaloosa on Saturday and "could join the staff in some capacity even if/when Sarkisian is hired as offensive coordinator." Long, an Alabama native, has spent the past two seasons coaching the Fighting Irish's offense. 

Alabama is in the market its fourth offensive coordinator in as many years after Mike Locksley left to become the coach at Maryland and Dan Enos departed to become the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Miami. Alabama finished the 2018 season as one of college football's most prolific offenses with Heisman finalist Tua Tagovailoa leading the nation with a 199.44 passer rating, 3,966 yards passing and 43 touchdowns. Alabama fell to Clemson 44-16 in the College Football Playoff National Championship. 

Sarkisian was most recently the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons for the past two seasons. Previously, he was the coach at Washington from 2009-14 then at USC from 2014-15. After being let go by the Trojans early in the 2015 season, he joined Saban's staff as an offensive analyst in 2016. When then-offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin left to become the coach at FAU, Sarkisian was promoted to offensive coordinator for that national championship against Clemson.

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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