Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/10/12
Drew Brees. Zach Mettenberger. And now Robert Bolden.

What is it about Louisiana that makes it such a great place for footballers down on their luck?

Brees, coming out of a franchise tag, his throwing shoulder torn, his pride wounded, was looking for a home. The Saints gave him one; and now, nearly six years later, he gets roughly the same attention from New Orleans football fans that Robert Pattinson gets from “Twi-hards.” Adoring and almost worshipful attention wherever he goes.

Mettenberger, involved in a “sex scandal,” banished from Valdosta, and, subsequently, shunned from his home of UGA, was looking for a place he would be utilized. He’s found a new home in Death Valley where he has been accepted in and welcomed like the prodigal son.

And now, in comes Robert Bolden.

Bolden was the first true freshman to play starting quarterback for Penn State since 1992. He was the first true freshman to play starting quarterback at an opening game, ever, under Coach Joe Paterno, who had been coaching Penn State since 1963.

He went 3-3 that season before, when playing against Minnesota, Bolden was taken off the field with a concussion. He missed the next game, before starting the following game against Northwestern. However, he was hit hard in the first quarter and was relieved of his starting quarterback duties, it would seem, permanently.

After not playing for the rest of the year, and trying to get away from the stigma of “not good enough,” he tried to transfer out of Penn state. His request was denied, and he was trapped if he wanted to keep his scholarship.

Bolden got one more chance to play, to prove he was more competent than the media laid him out to be, in the 2012 TicketCity bowl game after his replacement, Matt McGloin, was injured in a “locker room fight.” It probably would have been better if he had never taken the field at all and just left his possible progress over the past year to our imagination. The Lions lost 30-14, with Bolden throwing multiple interceptions and incompletions.

It was a bad time all around for Penn State. They finished the year in a disappointing loss, while their coaching staff was crumbling from underneath as the “Penn State child sex scandal” broke. The light at the end of the tunnel for Robert Bolden was that the staff decided to release him from his scholarship and allow him to look at transferring to another school where he might be allowed to play.

Which brings us to why Les Miles decided to pick him up. Far be it for me to question the 'Mad Hatter', but this decision is more puzzling to me than the call to keep He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in all four quarters of the 2012 SEC championship game when he had Jarrett Lee waiting in the wings.

But who knows? Maybe Les thinks that, like for many before him, the Louisiana air will do Bolden some good.
 
 

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