Well, that certainly didn’t take long. And, you can apparently breathe again, Happy Valley
Just a couple of hours after it was reported that Penn State’s Bill O’Brien had interviewed for the Cleveland Browns vacancy earlier this week, and after it reported that O’Brien interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles today, Jason La Confora of CBS Sports is reporting that “O’Brien is staying at Penn State” after what was by most accounts a very brief flirtation with the NFL.
“O’Brien has informed the school he is staying put,” La Confora subsequently tweeted. Additionally, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM Radio tweeted that O’Brien will not do any additional interviews with NFL clubs.
The news is huge for a Nittany Lions football program that could’ve been facing the loss of their first-year head coach heading into the second year of stifling NCAA sanctions.
O’Brien’s decision to remain in Happy Valley also comes shortly before a critical recruiting stretch commences, and will allow the Nittany Lions staff to retain what’s shaping up to be an above-average class. That’s critical for O’Brien & Company as part of the NCAA sanctions included deep cuts in scholarships available annually.
UPDATED 10: 34 p.m. ET: In an interview with David Jones of the Patriot-News, O’Brien himself confirmed that he will remain at Penn State.
“I’m not a one-and-done guy,” said O’Brien. “I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that’s what I am going to do. I’m not gonna cut and run after one year, that’s for sure.”
Jones also reported that, per high-level PSU sources, O’Brien will receive a raise of $1.3 million annually that will bump his salary to $3.6 million. If that’s the case, O’Brien would become the third-highest paid head coach in the Big Ten behind Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz.