By Ben Volin
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 9:25 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011
Posted: 7:36 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011
DAVIE — the Dolphins players have had nothing but good words to say about coach Tony Sparano over the past month after Sparano changed his coaching style and made coming to work more fun for the players.
But Dolphins players weren’t as close with the buttoned-down Nick Saban, who coached the team from 2005-06 and bolted for the University of Alabama after his second season.
Tuesday, former Dolphins fullback Heath Evans relayed a not-so-flattering anecdote about Saban from 2005 while being interviewed on 790-AM.
According to Evans, a Palm Beach Gardens native and graduate of the King’s Academy, Saban was cold and callous when offensive lineman Jeno James vomited and collapsed after a 2005 training camp practice in the brutal South Florida heat.
"Myself, about four other lineman are trying to carry him from the locker room, to the training room. obviously it’s a moment of panic.
"We don’t know if this guy’s going to die," said Evans, cut by the Dolphins six weeks into the 2005 season.
"Nick Saban literally just starts walking in, steps over Jeno James convulsing, doesn’t say a word, doesn’t try to help, goes upstairs.
"He showed no human emotion for one of his best players. He literally stepped over him when four or five grown men are trying to carry Jeno to the training room."
Safety Yeremiah Bell, who was on that 2005, defended Saban on Wednesday.
"I think it was a lot worse than coach Saban knew," Bell said of James’ condition, which was caused by dehydration brought on by gastroenteritis. "I just don’t think that we, us as players, even knew how bad it was."
James had to be hospitalized that day but said he was visited in the hospital by Saban, who arrived at the hospital 45 minutes after James arrived and stayed until about 12:15 a.m.
"It made me feel pretty good about this team to see my head coach there," James said at the time.
Carey returns: the Dolphins’ incredible stretch of good health continued Wednesday as all 53 players on the active roster participated in practice, including right guard Vernon Carey, who returned to the field for the first time since injuring his ankle two weeks ago at Dallas.
Although Carey was limited in practice, he lined up with the starters and will return to the lineup Sunday against Philadelphia.
Second-year veteran John Jerry started in Carey’s place last week against Oakland and his play drew praise from Sparano.
Sparano returning?: the offshore betting site Bodog.com is now accepting bets on whether Sparano will be the Dolphins’ coach in Week 1 of the 2012 season.
But here’s the catch – the odds reflect the opinion that Sparano is more likely to return next year than get fired after this season. the "yes" answer has a line of plus-150, which means the site gives Sparano 2-to-3 odds of coming back next year. the "no" answer has a line of minus-110, which means the site views Sparano not returning next year as slightly less than a 50-50 proposition.