ATLANTA — Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher put to rest any concerns of lingering tension between himself and Alabama coach Nick Saban on the final day of SEC media days.
“We saw each other at the SEC meetings [in Destin, Florida]. I have great respect for Nick, had a great friendship with Nick,” Fisher told ESPN on Thursday. “I respect him very much, and we all learn from different circumstances in which we have, and I have no ill will, no anything to him.
“I have great respect when we coached and done a lot of great things together, [we’re from the] same part of the country. You know what I’m saying? But we never talked that way. We never called and talked and did anything. We’re just like we always were.”
At the podium, Fisher said: “Unfortunately, our thing went public. Sometimes that happens in this world. Nothing is private anymore, is it?”
Saban created a stir in May during a meeting with local business leaders in Birmingham, Alabama, where he claimed that Texas A&M “bought every player” in its top-ranked recruiting class with name, image and likeness deals.
Fisher held a news conference the following day and called Saban’s comments “despicable,” while also challenging reporters to look into Alabama’s recruiting practices. Fisher also said at the time that he declined to take a call from Saban, saying, “Not going to — we’re done.”
Saban later attempted to clarify his comments, saying his frustrations were with what he called the “unintended consequences” of NIL and that regulation is needed.
Texas A&M visits Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 8, but Fisher told ESPN that the feud wouldn’t be motivation for that game.
“The game’s about the players,” he said. “Our emotion — we’re out of it. I’m too old to and I’m not on that field myself.”