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Report: NFL teams eyeing Bill O’Brien

Bill O'Brien AP

Alabama’s Nick Saban and Oregon’s Chip Kelly are two of the hottest college coaches in the NFL coaching rumor mill. Specifically, Saban has been connected to the Cleveland Browns and Kelly to Philadelphia Eagles.

According to a report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, one or more of those teams could also be eyeing Penn State coach Bill O’Brien. Mort states that “O’Brien may be on more short lists” than Kelly.

O’Brien came to Penn State in January after five successful years with the New England Patriots, including a Super Bowl appearance as an offensive coordinator for the 2011-12 season. O’Brien has over a decade of coaching experience in the college ranks, but there’s no overlooking his rise and success in New England.

Mort’s report is a quick read, but here’s the part that stuck out:

“However, sources say teams that have gauged his interest have been informed by a third party representative that when O’Brien accepted the task of being the late Joe Paterno’s successor, he was told by school officials that the Jerry Sandusky scandal was a criminal matter, not an NCAA concern. That proved to be bad information as Penn State was dealt a four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions as part of its penalties.”

O’Brien knew what he was getting into when he accepted the Penn State job — to a degree. He understood the program was in the middle of the worst scandal imaginable, the effects of which going forward were unknown, and that he would be succeeding an icon in Paterno. While the possibility of NCAA action was in the back of his (and Penn State’s) mind, the sanctions levied against the program in July by NCAA president Mark Emmert were astonishing both in the magnitude and the process by which they were handed down.

The point is that O’Brien did not sign up for what he received. Sure, he might have known the possibility was there, but it wasn’t part of the initial agreement. For that, it wouldn’t be surprising if O’Brien left Penn State. He’d reportedly have to pay the university a handsome sum if he did, but sometimes money can’t even keep someone around if the situation is bad enough.

It’d be hard to blame O’Brien for leaving, just like you can’t blame any Penn State players who left after the sanctions were announced. They had no part in the Sandusky scandal, so why should they pay the price for other people’s blatant, albeit alleged, disregard for the safety and well-being of others?

Conversely, I commend those who chose to stay. That would include O’Brien if he does. One of the qualities that’s made O’Brien my coach of the year in 2012 is his leadership and ability to keep Penn State steady during tough times. The program’s going to need plenty of that going forward and O’Brien’s the guy to do it.

But the draw of the NFL can be enough even without the distractions of Sandusky and the NCAA. The chance to win at the highest level is enticing. If O’Brien leaves, it could very well be because the offer was right. If there’s an offer, that is. There’s no report yet that there’s anything other than interest from NFL teams.

It makes sense, though. O’Brien’s a tremendous coach. Penn State should enjoy his presence, whether it’s for one more year or 10.

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33 Responses to “Report: NFL teams eyeing Bill O’Brien”
  1. yifsuibfe says: Dec 30, 2012 1:44 PM

    If he wasn’t aware of the scandal being an NCAA matter, then what is the explanation behind his contract automatically extending 4 years once the sanctions came down?

  2. Ben Kercheval says: Dec 30, 2012 2:02 PM

    In reference to THIS, O’Brien agreed to an addendum in January that would add years to his contract in the event of possible NCAA sanctions. It was not a result of the NCAA sanctions the program received.

  3. tttrojan4life says: Dec 30, 2012 2:44 PM

    He should get out of Gommorah. Those fools at Penn St. didn’t even support his hiring. He’s proven to be a good coach. I wouldn’t blame him at all for getting out of there. The worst is yet to come for PSU.

  4. eidolon21 says: Dec 30, 2012 2:58 PM

    The stink of cheating covers all of USC from Pete C to Lane K trying to deflect that by pointing at Penn State won’t work

  5. boondocksaint7 says: Dec 30, 2012 3:19 PM

    Trojan football and condoms are useful for people who like to cheat and covering up dicks.

  6. tttrojan4life says: Dec 30, 2012 4:53 PM

    “Cheating” and full blown child abuse are two different matters entirely.

  7. eidolon21 says: Dec 30, 2012 5:17 PM

    Sandusky is in jail and PennState has four years of penalties The Players did nothing wrong the students did nothing wrong but some want to penalize the innocent Pete C runs off to millions Lame K cheats blatantly why dont you crawl back under that rock

  8. tttrojan4life says: Dec 30, 2012 5:36 PM

    The argument that the current players had nothing to do with anything is not the point. The Penn St. program, from the administration to the fans needed to be severely punished. Their win at all costs mentality was part of the problem. It fueled the corruption that led to the coverup.

    Penn St. is lucky it didn’t get the death penalty. How they escaped that and are still playing football is beyond me.

    Nice ad hominem attacks. This story has nothing to do with SC, nor did I cite anything related to the Trojans. I didn’t even claim SC was innocent. Oh how I love my SC degree!

  9. eidolon21 says: Dec 30, 2012 5:46 PM

    referring to PSU as Gommorah is as personal as it gets Trojan so your ad hominem arguement is trash Win at all costs is USC and Pete and Lame and the Fans at PSU need to be punished you say… I say you are a creep and a Hypocrite

  10. joewilliesshnoz says: Dec 30, 2012 7:38 PM

    Nice cat fight !

  11. mdac1012 says: Dec 30, 2012 7:52 PM

    A 9 million dollar buyout, plus at least 3 million a year salary to beat the 2.3 million dollars he makes in total at PSU. It’s going to take a real crazy owner to dish out 12 million dollars this year for a head coach with a grand total of 1 year of head coaching experience.

    If you are willing to pay that much, give it to Cowher, at least he has a track record. Hell, I know he said he was officially retired, but I would think Tony Dungy would even have to consider a 12 million dollar offer.

  12. cranespy says: Dec 30, 2012 8:50 PM

    Bill will not leave PSU. He is a man of character and he will see this thru from beginning to end. Bank on it.

  13. youcantmakemepickausername says: Dec 30, 2012 10:01 PM

    I’m a PSU fan, i really hope he stays, and i really like the guy.

    That being said, i think people (and by people i mean teams that want to hire him and Bill if he’s considering taking a head NFL job) are getting a bit ahead of themselves here.

    Believe me, i understand the incredibly difficult circumstances they faced this year, but they went 8-4 (would’ve been 9-3 with a kicker that could actually make a FG in September). If you look at the talent (even considering the guys that left) and the schedule (which wasn’t exactly brutal), 8-4 is about where they should’ve been.

    So taking that into account, he’s basically a hot commodity because he was able to get the team to focus despite all the outside BS. Well, he does deserve a ton of credit for that, but so do Mike Mauti, Gerald Hodges, and Mike Zordich.

    Of course, when you can walk into an interview and answer the question of “what have you accomplished as a head coach” by saying “I actually made Matt McGloin look like a pretty good Division I QB”, I guess you’ll get hired in a snap, so there’s that.

  14. boondocksaint7 says: Dec 30, 2012 11:18 PM

    Hey Trojan boy pay some more players, make another porno in your locker room, and hand back another heisman. PSU is serving the harshest punishment ever handed down and didn’t violate a single NCAA rule. What happened was an awful crime and the bastards are going to jail. But make no mistake, PSU gained no on field advantage before , during, or after Sandusky’s crimes. That is the job of the NCAA to police. Not sex crimes. Your Trojans violate NCAA rules every other year and the spineless empty shirts at the NCAA hardly lift a finger because they know every other university will appeal. PSU didn’t and the NCAA took advantage of the situation!

  15. tttrojan4life says: Dec 30, 2012 11:41 PM


    Your attitude is exactly why PSU got punished so severely. You have no understanding of the severity of the scandal- child rape. Saying that there was “no on field advantage” and equating the sex crimes that PSU sanctioned to SC “violating NCAA rules” only supports that. SMU violated a plethora of NCAA rules and they DID get the death penalty. PSU got away with highway robbery. No way should they be playing football, with or without sanctions. You’re right about the NCAA- they are a bunch of “spineless empty shirts”.

    Sandusky was housed and protected by the university.

  16. boondocksaint7 says: Dec 31, 2012 12:08 AM

    Hey Trojan boy I’m not comparing rape to recruiting violations because there is no comparison. You are comparing apples to oranges. One is a crime and one is a violation of NCAA rules. The NCAA overstepped their authority in to the criminal justice system where they have no authority. They took advantage of situation because of a huge amount of public opinion pressure on both the NCAA and PSU. Knowing that PSU would not appeal, they imposed harsh penalties on players and coaches that gained no on field advantage from a horrible crimes committed by Sandusky. The NCAA had no authority in the criminal justice system just like the court system is not fining USC or Miami for repeated NCAA violations because it is out of the courts jurisdiction. I guess you didn’t take any criminal justice classes at USC. Or maybe you played football and didn’t have to go to class. Haha!

  17. pike573 says: Dec 31, 2012 12:50 AM

    Should have been Coach of the Year

  18. tttrojan4life says: Dec 31, 2012 12:53 AM

    OK Boondock,

    The people want to see a catfight so lets oblige.

    First PSU did gain a competitive advantage on the field. By covering up these horrific crimes against defenseless children, they went unharmed for years. Recruiting was not affected at all. We are now seeing the effects of the scandal on recruits and even existing players. Of course there was “public opinion pressure” on PSU an the NCAA. Systematic and institutional molestation/rape of children will do that.

    You would have to be awfully naive to think the NCAA would stand on the sidelines and claim they have no authority to punish a member of their institution. An organization that PSU willingly joined.

    The NCAA has no judiciary obligation and are the ultimate authority of member schools. They can drop the hammer down if they want to (USC, SMU, Oregon, etc.) If a member does not like it, they can 1. accept the ruling 2. appeal the ruling 3. leave the NCAA.

    It’s simple really. My post is too logical to be termed a catfight, but oh well. I will leave it to others.

  19. freemantowilliams says: Dec 31, 2012 1:05 AM

    Damn there’s more drama here than telekinetic soap opera. Basing

  20. boondocksaint7 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:41 AM

    Trojan you obviously don’t understand the difference between a crime and a rules violation. The guilty people that the NCAA had authority to punish were fired/ going to jail or dead. You saying it affecting recruiting is not a pay off or a violation. Check the rule book. This was a crime committed by a former coach. No current coach or player or booster committed any violations of NCAA rules. The administration obstructed justice and will hopefully die in prison for their crimes. However no NCAA rules or improper benefits were given to any players. That is the scope of the NCAA jurisdiction. It may make you feel better to attack PSU because of the trouble USC is constantly in but the reality is that the NCAA saw a PR opportunity to show a some balls for the first time and they took advantage of it. Guilty people go to jail not to the NCAA.

  21. tttrojan4life says: Dec 31, 2012 2:04 AM

    We can argue what the “scope of NCAA jurisdiction” is, but obviously PSU accepted it. If they were so outraged by the NCAA’s “abuse of power”, why not sue?

    The answer is simple, despite initial grumblings by the Board, PSU believed they got off easy and are quite happy with the sanctions handed down. I would have to agree, they got off- no elimination of the program, no death penalty. It will be “business as usual” in Happy Valley in 5-8 years.

  22. boondocksaint7 says: Dec 31, 2012 2:20 AM

    PSU did not get off anywhere close to easy. They took what ever punishment the NCAA handed them because if they would have appealed or filed a law suit it would drag this out even longer and be completely insensitive to all of Sandusky’s victims. They wanted the situation over as fast as possible and the NCAA capitalized on this opportunity against a university that could not fight back to try to show they are not the joke we know them to be. See UNC for an example. They made up classes and grades and the NCAA gave them a slap on the wrist.

  23. mdac1012 says: Dec 31, 2012 1:59 PM

    “Bill will not leave PSU. He is a man of character and he will see this thru from beginning to end. Bank on it.”

    You sound like those people who say a politician would never do this or that because they are a man of character. He is a coach, which puts him in the same category as a politician. I have seen enough coaches say they are never leaving and were out the door the next day.

    I don’t think he is leaving because of the finances involved, nothing else. If his buyout was 2 million, and he got an NFL offer, he would be gone.

  24. chiefagc5675 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:22 PM

    O’Brien should leave. Penn State officials screwed PSU fans and players. The 8-4 season would have been at least 10-2 if no one left.
    The next 3-4 years will be the worst in the history of PSU because of the Pa. Gov. and the PSU administration. They might never recover.
    If there is a hell Corbett and his FBI buddy need to go there.

  25. boondocksaint7 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:35 PM

    Hey Trojan man O’Brian still won more games this year than USC. Even after Lame stole his starting running back. Enjoying watching GT stomp USC in to the ground! Hahaha!!!

  26. tttrojan4life says: Dec 31, 2012 6:10 PM


    Lane didn’t “steal” anyone. Part of PSU’s punishment for their horrendous sexual/violent crimes against children was that existing players may transfer. Silas has free will and chose not to play or be associated with PSU. Obviously he did not want the shame that is associated with a degree from there.

    As for the SC-GT game, that truly was embarrassing. I offer no rebuttal- they got stomped into the ground. This is the first time you have said something right in this entire thread!

  27. boondocksaint7 says: Dec 31, 2012 6:25 PM

    Don’t worry whatever apartment or car or whatever actual violation USC committed to get him there, with there “power point” will come out eventually. Kinda funny how a team always on, facing, or coming off sanctions was allowed to poach players from a university that never actually violated a real NCAA rule. Maybe USC should try to poach O’Brian. They might not suck as much. Haha! Happy New Year!

  28. tttrojan4life says: Dec 31, 2012 9:11 PM

    Boondocks you have a wild imagination. Happy New Year anyways!

  29. chiefagc5675 says: Dec 31, 2012 9:44 PM

    All the rednecks posting here who seem to daydream about abusing kids need to look at the reality- most of these kids were in high school – one kid said he was abused over 100 times- was he kidnapped and kept hostage? No- he trotted in for his BJ when he was called.

  30. chiefagc5675 says: Dec 31, 2012 9:45 PM

    Then he picked up his present for being a good boy and waited for his next call.

  31. seanemac75 says: Jan 1, 2013 8:07 AM

    Here is a few points about the Penn State punishment. 1st, the alleged crime that happen in the showers of Penn State was found not guilty. Yes, I am aware of Mike Mcquerry testimony was considered helpful to put the Monster away, but the criminal act aka victim # 2, the monster was found not guilty. 2nd, the NCAA used the Freeh Report as their conclusion for punishment. Yet, there are holes throughout the report. Example, there is a chain of emails that when read are damaging. But, if you read the dates of the emails, they are out of order. Explain that one and the other holes. 3rd, the first attempt to get the monster was screwed up, not by Penn State but the state of Pennsylvania. If Penn State would of fired the monster, they would of been liable. Also, Joe was not legally allowed to know about the1998 about the investigation. 4th, under Pennsylvania law, after Joe report what was told to him, he could not ask or be told of updates on the investigation. He did not witness anything, he was reporting what was told to him. Mike McQuery, also had not been consistent in the story he told other people including his father, doctor, and friends. I can go on about how screwed up this thing was handled, but I won’t. Here is my question to you USC fan, why are schools that cover up women being raped by football players not being severally punished too? Look how the now former Head Coach and AD of University of Montana covered up a gang rape its players were involved in? Where the justice for that woman? How about the University of Washington football team in the early mid 90’s that had rapest, a murdered, wife beater, and other scum that was covered up by not only the school, but by the community? There is a great article on that issue done by a Washington newspaper. Go find it and read it. By the way, that is the school Mr Emmert became the president of University of Washington, but did not punish the football program. Kind of hypocritical too me. There are issues the NCAA have chosen to ignore. Looking at those, this looks like the NCAA did was for publicity. Also the chastising of the Players and fans for supporting a team is wrong. They did not do these terrible acts. They had no hand in the cover up. To continually talk down to the players and fans for these acts is like blaming the current Trojan players and fans for the crap Pete Carroll pulled.

  32. boondocksaint7 says: Jan 1, 2013 9:03 AM

    Sean lets be honest the reason the NCAA ignored the other incidents is because those other universities and coaches were small potatoes in comparison to PSU and Joe pa. The moral compass that is ESPN didn’t care until they could spend hour after hour trashing the all time winningest coach and exploit the situation to make millions of $ for their sponsors! ESPN/TMZ had commentator after commentator condemn PSU and call out the NCAA to actually do something even though they had no authority. ESPN like most of the Disney corp. pretends to be the moral authority for this country when it sees a chance to cash in. Sean you were correct with all your points.

  33. eidolon21 says: Jan 1, 2013 10:23 AM

    Commonwealth of PA will take on the NCAA.

    It this goes the way it should (NCAA no authority on criminal charges) Emmert is toast and he should be.

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