What were Rich Rodriguez, Bret Bielema, Butch Jones doing at Alabama Pro Day?

It's common for coaches to meet up at pro days because of the talent evaluation that goes into them. It's also not unheard of for recently fired coaches to pop up at these types of events. The coaching fraternity is a small circle. Everyone talks. Everyone rubs elbows. 

But, goodness, there are all kinds of storylines when Butch Jones, Rich Rodriguez and Bret Bielema walk into Alabama's Pro Day. And jokes. Either/or.

Jones' presence makes the most sense. Last month, it was reported that Jones, who was fired from Tennessee this past season, was in talks with Alabama to take an unspecified "off-field" role as an offensive analyst. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban is notorious for bringing on recently fired coaches in a variety of roles, and when asked about Jones on Wednesday -- it's worth noting Jones was wearing Alabama gear -- Saban said he was "interested" in hiring Jones ... but little else. 

Bielema also makes sense. The former Arkansas coach has reportedly been working closely with the New England Patriots, and Bill Belichick was in attendance. Who better to help scout potential draft picks than the guy who coached against them for the past three to four years?

Rodriguez, though, is the most interesting. It was he, after all, who nearly took the Alabama job just over a decade ago when he was the coach of West Virginia. Instead, Rodriguez opted to return to the Mountaineers -- he left for the same job at Michigan a year later -- and Alabama hired Saban. It is truly one of the most fascinating "what ifs" in recent college football memory. 

Rodriguez is out of a job thanks to his recent firing from Arizona amid alleged misconduct -- he has since claimed extortion -- and given Saban's tendency to consult with or otherwise hire ex-coaches, it'll be interesting to see if there's anything to that connection. At the very least, it's a wrinkle in college football's spacetime. 

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

Our Latest Stories