BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick began his session with New England reporters on Thursday morning by sending well wishes to Nick Saban, who tested positive for COVID-19 this week.
“I know everyone’s aware of our connections with Coach Saban and Alabama, so just want to wish him a speedy and complete recovery from this COVID virus,” Belichick said of Saban. “You know, I spoke with Coach Saban recently. We both talked about how much we’ve learned about the situation and some of the challenges that have come with it. And I know he’s been extremely vigilant and has put a great deal of thought and effort into the care of his team and players. He shared that with me and we’ve both talked about things that we’ve done, and have been helpful and so forth.”
The University of Alabama announced Wednesday afternoon that both Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne tested positive for COVID-19. As of that announcement, the 68-year-old Saban was not experiencing any symptoms of the disease, but the legendary head coach is of course in quarantine away from his team.
The relationship between Saban and Belichick dates back to the early ’90s, when Saban was the defensive coordinator for Belichick’s Cleveland Browns teams. Saban worked in that role for four seasons before taking the head coaching job at Michigan State.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick chats with Alabama head coach Nick Saban during Pro Day on the University of Alabama campus Tuesday @MGMAdvertiser @mgmsports #RollTide @Patriots pic.twitter.com/tfn1pChnsG
— Mickey Welsh (@mickeywelsh) March 19, 2019
Saban and Belichick maintained their relationship throughout the decades that followed, and they were featured together in a 2019 HBO special titled, “Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching.”
The Patriots have dealt with their own instances of COVID-19, with four players testing positive over the past couple of weeks.
“So, as I said, just want to wish him the best from all of us here in the organization,” Belichick said.