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Bill Belichick sends his well-wishes to Alabama head coach Nick Saban after his Covid-19 diagnosis

Related: Cam Newton, Stephon Gilmore return to Patriots practice for the first time since Covid-19 diagnosis

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The friendship between New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Alabama’s Nick Saban goes all the way to 1982: Saban was working as the defensive backs coach at Navy, with Belichick’s father Steve being in his 27th season as a member of the school’s scouting department. Since then, they have been close to each other — never more then when they were on the same staff with the Cleveland Browns.

Belichick was the head coach in Cleveland between 1991 and 1995, with Saban serving as his defensive coordinator for the first four of his five seasons. While the two have worked separately ever since, their bond remained a close one.

It is therefore no surprise that Belichick used his press conference on Thursday to extend well-wishes to Saban, who was recently diagnosed with the Coronavirus.

“I know everyone’s aware of our connections with Coach Saban and Alabama,” Belichick said. “So, just want to wish him a speedy and complete recovery from this Covid-virus. I spoke with Coach Saban recently. We both talked about how much we’ve learned about this situation and some of the challenges that have come with it.

“I know he’s been extremely vigilant and has put a great deal of thought and effort into the care of his team and players and he shared that with me. We both talked about things that we’ve done and have been helpful and so forth. As I said, just want to wish him the best from all of us here in the organization.”

Saban is one of two men in Alabama to recently test positive, the other being athletic director Greg Byrne. The school’s highly-anticipated game against Georgia, meanwhile, remains scheduled for Saturday.