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THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 2007
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Don Shula says Saban no 'great loss' to Miami

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — There was laughter in the lobby and joking in the hallways at the Miami Dolphins complex Wednesday. For the first time in months, the team president and even assistant coaches talked to reporters.

Coach Nick Saban was gone, leaving the Dolphins to face their third coaching change since 2000.

A dark day for the organization?

"I don't think so," cornerback Will Allen said. "Every time something happens, everybody wants to look at the negative things to it. There could be some positive things."

For those who believed Saban's pledges of fidelity to the Dolphins during the past five weeks, his departure for Alabama was a stunner. He left after only two NFL seasons, and acknowledged last month that his job of rebuilding the team into a playoff contender was unfinished.

But as he boarded a plane to Tuscaloosa, the mood at team headquarters — and elsewhere in South Florida — was far from gloomy.

"My reaction is that Saban in two years was 15-17," former Dolphins coach Don Shula said. "I don't think that will be any great loss."

Shula viewed the situation harshly in part because the Crimson Tide fired his son, Mike, creating the vacancy that Saban will fill. But others weary of Saban's autocratic approach embraced the fresh start under a new regime.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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