Monday, July 31, 2006

Nick Saban: Too Busy for President [J. Mark English]

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - When the White House called with an invitation to dine with President Bush, Dan Marino took it. But the coach of his former team said no.

Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban said Monday that his obligations at training camp took priority over a chance to meet the president.

"It was really a tough decision," Saban said. "I feel like my first responsibility is our team. That in no way disrespects the importance of the opportunity I would have loved to have had to spend dinner with the President."

The invitation was for dinner with Bush on Sunday night at Joe's Stone Crabs, a landmark Miami Beach restaurant. Marino, a former Dolphins quarterback and an NFL Hall of Famer, did attend, Bush said in a speech Monday.

Several Dolphins players said they weren't surprised that Saban put his team ahead of the president.

"We all know Nick is serious about what we're doing here and is committed to it," defensive end Jason Taylor said.