NFL

Chicago Bears nearly hired Nick Saban as head coach in 2004

Sep 20, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban reacts to the touchdown in the second quarter of their game against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 20, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban reacts to the touchdown in the second quarter of their game against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Stories about Nick Saban's past NFL coaching opportunities have surfaced recently. He was considered for the Indianapolis Colts job in 1998. The year before that, the New York Giants offered Saban their head coaching position.

John Mullin of CSN Chicago has dug even deeper, though, and found that the Chicago Bears were closer to hiring Saban than either the Colts or the Giants. Saban was Chicago's first choice to replace Dick Jauron as head coach in 2004, so the story goes, but President Ted Phillips wasn't willing to meet his $4 million demand.

Instead, the Bears hired Lovie Smith. Saban was hired by the Miami Dolphins the next year and led them to a 15-17 record over the following two seasons. In 2007, he left for Alabama, where he has gone on to build a dynasty with three National Championships (2009, 2011-2012).

More from FoxSports

(h/t CSN Chicago)

Photo Credit: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports