Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban Wants Others to Learn from Former Crimson Tide WR Henry Ruggs III’s Fatal Accident: ‘Sometimes the Consequences Can Be Devastating’

Article Highlights:

  • Alabama head coach Nick Saban offered his support and heartbreak over former Crimson Tide receiver Henry Ruggs III’s deadly DUI crash, which resulted in the death of a 23-year-old woman
  • Ruggs, 22, is facing charges of DUI resulting in death and reckless driving
  • Every athletic program around the world needs to hear Saban’s comments

In April 2020, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban watched the Las Vegas Raiders use a first-round pick on Henry Ruggs III, a speedy wide receiver who spent three seasons in Tuscaloosa.

Over a year later, Saban watched Ruggs’ life change in an instant. The 22-year-old was in a serious car crash on Tuesday, Nov. 2, that left him badly injured and killed a 23-year-old woman and her dog. Saban, who coached the former Raiders receiver from 2017-19, held nothing back when discussing Ruggs’ current situation.

Nick Saban had plenty to say about former Crimson Tide receiver Henry Ruggs’ legal issues

As of Nov. 6, 2021, Ruggs is facing two felony counts of DUI and reckless driving. Prosecutors also charged him with possession of a firearm while under the influence, a misdemeanor, after police found a loaded gun in his Chevrolet Corvette.

During a Nov. 3 press conference, Saban expressed condolences to the families affected by the crash. He also said he still intends to support Ruggs however he can.

“I think [this incident] is something a lot of folks can learn from. I think a lot of players on our team when we say [for] people to make good choices and do the right thing. Because we love him. We’re going to support him through it. But we also have a lot of compassion from the victims, and our thoughts and prayers are also with them.”

Nick Saban

The Raiders released Ruggs late Tuesday. He was released from jail on a $150,000 bond and is barred from driving and consuming alcohol. As of Nov. 6, he is facing up to 46 years in prison.

“Sometimes the consequences can be devastating,” Saban said. “These consequences are probably going to be devastating to Henry.”

Ruggs and Jack Miller separately but perfectly prove Saban’s point about consequences

Even with ride-sharing services readily available through cell phone apps, DUI and DWI-related arrests are still common in the sports world. According to USA Today, 11 NFL players (including Ruggs) have been arrested for DUI since January 2020.

Every sports program around the world, whether it’s a high school softball team or a professional rugby team, needs to hear Saban’s words. Every action has a reaction, and sometimes, as Saban said, “the consequences can be devastating.”

If you need any further proof, let’s go to Ohio for a moment. According to ESPN, Ohio State Highway Patrol officers arrested Ohio State reserve quarterback Jack Miller for allegedly operating a vehicle while impaired on Friday, Nov. 5, only days after Ruggs’ crash in Nevada. The redshirt freshman refused a Breathalyzer test and was subsequently suspended.

Thankfully, Miller’s incident, which also involved a citation for driving in marked lanes, didn’t cause a loss of life the way Ruggs’ crash did. Still, the point Saban tried illustrating remains the same. 

Saban and Derek Carr are among those trying to support Ruggs where they can

Saban isn’t the only one who plans to support Ruggs. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr emotionally addressed his former teammate’s legal issues on Wednesday afternoon.

Carr said Ruggs’ situation broke his heart, and he has a “thousand questions” he wishes he could ask the 22-year-old. The veteran quarterback said Ruggs texted him and another receiver, Hunter Renfrow, asking for tips on his golf swing only hours before the crash.

“He’s probably feeling a certain type of way about himself right now, and he needs to be loved,” Carr told reporters. “If nobody else will do it, I will do it.”

As of publication, Ruggs had not issued a public statement.