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Penn State coach Bill O’Brien considering an NFL interview

Bill O'Brien AP

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien may be a candidate for one of the NFL’s seven coaching vacancies.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC reports that O’Brien is strongly considering interviewing with an NFL team.

King doesn’t say whether there’s one specific team that has asked O’Brien to interview, but the Jaguars and Eagles have both been mentioned in previous reports about teams that might be interested in O’Brien. It’s easy to see why NFL teams would take a liking to O’Brien: He was well regarded as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, and he did an outstanding job at Penn State this year, holding his team together amid harsh NCAA sanctions for the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

It’s also easy to see why O’Brien would want to leave: He didn’t know when he took the Penn State job that he’d be coaching a team that wouldn’t be allowed to play in a bowl game or a Big Ten Championship Game for his first four seasons, and that he’d be coaching a team that would have severe scholarship reductions. O’Brien thought he was taking over a program where he could win a national championship, and that’s not realistic at Penn State any time soon.

There’s been talk that the buyout in O’Brien’s Penn State contract would keep him from leaving, but that’s not necessarily as big an obstacle as has been reported. For starters, there have been conflicting reports about just how much O’Brien would actually have to pay the school if he leaves. And even at the high end of the estimates for O’Brien’s buyout — $18.4 million — the reality is that every owner in the NFL can afford it. If an NFL owner is convinced O’Brien is the coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl, that owner will pay whatever he has to pay to get his man.

So it’s not at all surprising that O’Brien is considering an NFL job interview. And it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he leaves Penn State to take an NFL job.

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45 Responses to “Penn State coach Bill O’Brien considering an NFL interview”
  1. fdugrad says: Jan 1, 2013 2:39 PM

    Why would he NOT consider leaving PSU? He was sold a bill of goods regarding all the ramifications of the JOPA mess.

  2. pinion8ted says: Jan 1, 2013 2:41 PM

    As a Patriots fan, I love Bill O’B, but let’s be serious …. he HAD to know there’d be SOME kind of sanctions when he took that Penn State job.

    He did a great job in year one, but he went into this with his eyes wide open.

  3. steelernationisthepinnacleofexistenceyouarenothing says: Jan 1, 2013 2:42 PM

    Please, Browns! Bring him in!

    - Steeler Nation

  4. coys10 says: Jan 1, 2013 2:43 PM

    No owner is going to pay 18.4 million for guy that has never been an NFL coach. If they did, they are an idiot and usually idiots don’t get to own NFL teams.

  5. unclemoobaa1911 says: Jan 1, 2013 2:44 PM

    I’m considering marrying Carrie Underwood, doesn’t mean its going to happen.

  6. jakec4 says: Jan 1, 2013 2:45 PM

    These one year here, one year there guys drive me crazy. He doesn’t owe the kids at Penn State anything contractually, but it just speaks to how self serving some coaches really are. What NFL owner wants a guy who might flake out on them the same way he flaked out on the job he had before you.

  7. giantssb42champs says: Jan 1, 2013 2:45 PM

    Another Belicheat flunky in the making.

  8. newagerocker says: Jan 1, 2013 2:47 PM

    Both the Eagles and Jags need a change in culture and could greatly benefit from O’Brian’s leadership and experience. I’d like to see him in Philly. I’m not sold on Chip Kelly for The Eagles. I think The Eagles have more pieces in place than The Jags.

  9. aosplayo says: Jan 1, 2013 2:49 PM

    As a PSU and Iggles fan, Id be torn by this move. Obrien sold those kids that stayed on something special, and while it certainly is his right to leave just as it was theirs, Id feel hed be a huge hypocrite. Not to mention PSU has the top QB and top TE committed, and if he made Matt McGloin into a top QB the nation last year, what can he do with a legit blue chipper? Tough choice for him.

  10. ducknichols50 says: Jan 1, 2013 2:50 PM

    i didnt know the Jaquars job was even open

  11. beretta96d says: Jan 1, 2013 2:52 PM

    coys10 says:Jan 1, 2013 2:43 PM

    No owner is going to pay 18.4 million for guy that has never been an NFL coach. If they did, they are an idiot and usually idiots don’t get to own NFL teams.

    There are a few of them out there! Jerry Jones comes to mind…

  12. pinion8ted says: Jan 1, 2013 2:53 PM

    @steelernationisthepinnacleofexistenceyouarenothing:

    hey, how’s that 7th Lombardi coming along?

  13. phillybeav says: Jan 1, 2013 2:55 PM

    If O’Brien makes the jump… Romeo Crennel WILL be his DC. IF a team gets these two, it will be Super Bowl bound in three years.

  14. e4ericka says: Jan 1, 2013 2:56 PM

    Great job at PSU but lets just consider how previous Pats assistants have done as NFL head coaches.

  15. daroc88 says: Jan 1, 2013 2:57 PM

    Bailing to go to the NFL after you preached to the kids all year about team and the importance of staying the course through adversity? Sounds about right for the Sabans, Petrinos, and Tubervilles of the world.

  16. seanemac75 says: Jan 1, 2013 2:58 PM

    If he were to leave, then everything he stood for last year would been just fake. Here is the interesting thing, I wonder what happens when the state of Pennsylvania sues the NCAA?

  17. mazblast says: Jan 1, 2013 3:01 PM

    Sure, pay the $18.4 million. After all, it is Known Fact that having been with the Patriots makes one a guaranteed winner for life, that any team that employs anyone endowed with the Belichick/Brady magic is an automatic winner.

    Cheeseburger Charlie Weis
    Romeo Crennel
    Matt Cassel
    Scott Pioli
    Josh McDaniels

    I mean, has any group of disciples of any coach ever experienced such an uninterrupted record of success???

    That said, I wish coach O’Brien many years of success and happiness–at Penn State.

  18. mazblast says: Jan 1, 2013 3:06 PM

    coys10 says:

    No owner is going to pay 18.4 million for guy that has never been an NFL coach. If they did, they are an idiot and usually idiots don’t get to own NFL teams.
    ————————————
    Ross
    Snyder
    Jones
    Adams
    W. Johnson
    Brown
    Bidwill

    Any idiot who makes enough money elsewhere can be an NFL owner if he plays his cards right. Any idiot who happens to be the son of an owner, whether the father was an idiot (Bidwill Sr.) or not (Paul Brown), can get a team the same way.

  19. fio1963 says: Jan 1, 2013 3:07 PM

    He did know there were possible sanctions. In his contract if there was sanctions he had 4 more years added to his contract which took effect. C’mon do your research!!!

  20. Cereal says: Jan 1, 2013 3:13 PM

    Its absolutely ridiculous that Penn State’s millions of fans are being punished by the criminal actions of an individual who wasn’t even employed with the school at the time. Shame on the PSU board for willingly accepting these sanctions. The 4 players mentioned in the Freeh report, whether they did enough or not is hearsay. As deplorable of their potential crimes are there really is little evidence to back any of it up. ESPN’s guilty first witch hunt media attack was borderline slander & the NCAA completely whiffed on their power move. Of course nobody is writing about this, it sells more papers to bash Joe Paterno.

  21. lifelongbrownsfan says: Jan 1, 2013 3:14 PM

    I thought O’Brien’s contract at Penn State had some sort of escape clause language that permitted a clean break if the school was sanctioned for more than one year, particularly because there was so much uncertainty about it when O’Brien signed on.

  22. johnnyb216 says: Jan 1, 2013 3:22 PM

    Nick Saban!!!

  23. burgandy2260 says: Jan 1, 2013 3:30 PM

    His reputation from the start was that he’s a man’s man and a leader. If he leaves PSU after 1 yr then he’d fall right into the ranks of these other college coaches who stray from the truth. I know it’s all part of a big dream for these guys but when is your word your word!?!?

  24. maddenisfordorks says: Jan 1, 2013 3:36 PM

    Bobby Knight!

  25. tommyg2012 says: Jan 1, 2013 3:40 PM

    Not even George Steinbrenner would pay 18 million just to buy this guys contract out…he ain’t going nowhere unless Penn State agrees to waive that buyout…. The next 4 years are going to suck … Imagine if PSU went undefeated in those 4 years … It means NOTHING!!!!!!

  26. nflfan1 says: Jan 1, 2013 3:41 PM

    @giantssb42champs

    Another Belicheat flunky in the making.
    _____________________________

    Full disclosure. Not speaking as a Patriots fan. Just tired of idiots using the term “Belicheat” because they are too lazy and stupid to come up with anything new. It is 2013. You would think that a true Giants fan who’s team has beat the Pats twice would be happy with that.

  27. hbegley6672 says: Jan 1, 2013 3:47 PM

    He knew there was a risk going in. He’s entitle to go where ever he chooses. Although, it would make his actions an statements this past year, very disingenuous. Those seniors stood by him, each other and the university…

  28. deebo92 says: Jan 1, 2013 3:58 PM

    As a Penn State student, Bill could you not?

  29. blancodiablo says: Jan 1, 2013 3:58 PM

    As a Penn State grad and Jag season ticket owner, if Khan brings in O’Brien, he can keep his tickets. Maybe some homer Gator fan will buy them when Tebow is brought onboard. But I doubt it. SEC grads make an average of $12 an hour.

  30. kirksutton says: Jan 1, 2013 3:58 PM

    Belichik and his flunkies are good, but the mega success in New England comes from Tom Bundchen, and when he retires, the glory departs. Along with BB.

  31. stairwayto7 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:19 PM

    If he leaves, he will be known as Benedict Bill!

  32. fran021 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:20 PM

    Somedayike to meet these “Belicheat” and “Tom Bundchen” type folk, just to see if they have two heads or look like normal people.

  33. pondbridge says: Jan 1, 2013 4:47 PM

    I’m no PSU fan, but maybe the loyal supporters of that program in State College PA including the Penn State student-athletes who stayed around after the sanctions deserve a coach who thinks of himself second.

  34. badgerbuck says: Jan 1, 2013 4:59 PM

    Can you blame him?

  35. bobzilla1001 says: Jan 1, 2013 5:12 PM

    I’m a little surprised that O’Brien is so highly coveted, considering he has zero significant wins so far at Penn State. O’Brien, like Paterno before him, benefited from a cupcake schedule.
    When O’Brien’s PSU teams start beating Ohio State even once in a while, get back to me.

  36. CKL says: Jan 1, 2013 5:24 PM

    giantssb42champs says:
    Jan 1, 2013 2:45 PM
    Another Belicheat flunky in the making.
    _____________________________
    I LOVE when NYG fans whine about BB and cheating. Means that your first two Lombardis are tainted too, right?

    As for O’Brien, even though I don’t care about college football, I sure hope he doesn’t jump. Whether he was misled or not, and especially in that particular job, a man of integrity would stay and see his contract through. Period. Some things money just shouldn’t buy.

  37. patfanken says: Jan 1, 2013 5:26 PM

    Those who believe that the Pats won’t be a serious competitor when Brady leaves, are really just hoping that will be the case. In their hearts, they really know that its not true. They all saw what happened in 2008.

    Everyone who makes the NFL is a good player, NE has a system that tends to make them better, and that’s going to continue after Brady is gone.

    BTW- don’t forget the Pats went to the superbowl last season with a team that had 19 players who started their careers as UDFA’s. They added 2 more this draft, both who are contributing.

  38. John A. says: Jan 1, 2013 5:27 PM

    Cupcake schedule? Are you out of your mind?

    He did a masterful job with the TOUGH schedule they had and all the defections of players from the team.

  39. sdiegosteel says: Jan 1, 2013 5:31 PM

    I don’t know how much he’d help an NFL team, but losing him would be devastating to Penn State (and I say this as a PSU fan). There’s a fine line here – - being successful enough to get recruits but not so successful that he gets offers from elsewhere. He might have crossed that second line – - and then where will PSU go?

  40. xcerebus1 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:50 PM

    This is almost as good as the story where Tony Dungy announced he wouldn’t take a head coaching job that was never offered to him.

  41. contract says: Jan 1, 2013 8:36 PM

    “hey, how’s that 7th Lombardi coming along?”

    One thing is sure … it’s coming along a heck of a lot better than it is for your team.

  42. anonymouslyanonymouscommentor says: Jan 1, 2013 9:12 PM

    Does anyone realize how good this must look to recruits? A lot of PSU fans are worried, but the more informed ones seem to be pretty confident he’s staying. O’Brien just doesn’t seem like the type of guy to go against everything he stands for, or at least stood for last year. Can’t ever be sure, but seems to me (and part of this is definitely me hoping) that he’s just keeping his name out there so everyone knows he could have a job at the NFL level if he wanted it.

  43. thetooloftools says: Jan 1, 2013 9:49 PM

    I think O’Brian is going to stay at Penn State if he has any character.
    (How can you ask player to stay and then leave)?
    I was the biggest Penn State basher on the planet and Joe Paterno really did know EVERYTHING .. he really did.
    But O’Brian knows if he hangs in there a few years, college coaches are going to make just as much (if not more) then pro coaches. He’ll go legend in Happy Valley and can fill in the blanks on his paycheck.
    Why do you think Penn State never blinked over $60 million? Pocket change to them.
    O’Brian will not interview with anyone or it will be a sign of disloyalty.
    Either he’s all in with Penn State or he’s on his own.
    They will eat they’re young in Happy Valley.

  44. chattanola says: Jan 1, 2013 10:47 PM

    I admired O’Brien and thought he was pretty gutsy to take on the Penn St. coaching job, but 4 years of obscurity may be too much to bear for any man with ambitions.

    My question is, if Penn St. had any inkling that they were going to be hit this hard, why didn’t they offer the job to a lower profile coach who needed some notches on his belt vs. a coach who could, arguably, take a HC position in the NFL?

    Four years of recruiting challenges and when winning won’t even get you a participation trophy?

    Who would’ve knowingly taken that on except a young up-and-comer wanting to put some skins on the wall?

    O’Brien has a tough decision here but I can’t say that I fault him.

  45. donkeykong2011 says: Jan 1, 2013 10:59 PM

    Belichick is the best coach any of us has ever seen. And you know it.

    That said, none of his assistants that move on ever pan out. Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Josh McDaniels, Eric Mangini, and Scott Pioli have all been a bust.

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