While Oregon’s Chip Kelly and Alabama’s Nick Saban are the
two head coaches from the college ranks garnering the most attention, Chris Mortensen
of ESPN reports that Penn State coach Bill O’Brien may be on more short lists
entering the offseason.
As NFL owners and executives revisit the success of college
coaches at the pro level, Penn State’s Bill O'Brien may be on more short lists
than Oregon's Chip Kelly and that would include the Cleveland Browns and
Philadelphia Eagles, according to league sources.
While O’Brien was more than successful in his first season
with the Nittany Lions, “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,” according to
Mortensen. We now know this wasn’t the case, as Penn State was handed a
four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions as a result.
For this reason and just based on the lore of coaching at
the highest level, O’Brien could consider making the jump from college to the
NFL after only one year at Penn State. However, according to reports the coach
wouldn’t jump at just any opportunity.
Mortensen notes that O’Brien wouldn’t necessarily jump at an
opportunity to coach in the NFL, adding that “it would qualify as a surprise”
if he left Penn State after being named Big 10 Coach of the Year.
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