Last week when I called, Bryant was getting ready to go to practice for Alabama's Liberty Bowl game with Illinois—the last game he'll ever coach. I hadn't talked with him for a while, so he let me detain him. I asked if he intended to attend practice when Perkins took over next year. He said he would "tell Ray where the potholes are," and "help any and every way I can," but no, "I won't go near the field."
He said he was feeling great. I had heard he had had a minor face-lift and looked "15 years younger." For all the troubles it had seen, I figured his face deserved it, but not having the guts of my daughter, I didn't bring up the subject. Finally he said he'd "love to talk," and we'd "get together" this winter, but he had to get to practice.
All things considered, Bear Bryant didn't sound like a man who had croaking on his mind.