By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report
Owner/Managing Editor/Sr. Writer
The Penn State Nittany Lions hope they don’t lose their head coach to the NFL.
Head coach Bill O’Brien is reportedly intrigued by several NFL coaching vacancies that he would at least get an interview. He has only been at the school for one year.
He is on the short lists of the Cleveland Browns, the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Diego Chargers, and the Arizona Cardinals to fill their head coaching vacancies. It is not known whether the three other teams are interested in interviewing O’Brien.
He was 8-4 in his first season in Happy Valley. There are some stumbling blocks that any NFL team would face in potentially hiring O’Brien.
He has a $18.4 million dollar buyout in his contract that an NFL team would have to pay to the school. His buyout was previously reported at $9.2 million. In addition, an NFL team would have to match any financial offer that their boosters could pay to keep O’Brien.
He came to Penn State from the New England Patriots. He served as the Patriots offensive coordinator during the 2011 NFL season.
He came to Penn State, as the school was facing an uprising after former head coach Joe Paterno was fired. Paterno was fired after he reportedly hid the fact that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was rapping little boys – even sometimes on the school campus in the locker room of the football facility.
O’Brien took over nearly three weeks before Paterno passed away in January of last year. There were many alumni that questioned his hiring, yet he would hold the school together, even in their darkest days.
He would have to hold the team together several times in a few months after taking over. He had to deal with the media after Sandusky was sentenced in June. Then, a few weeks later, he had to deal with Penn State being hit with severe NCAA sanctions.
The Nittany Lions were facing a death penalty, which has only been handed out in football once to SMU in the 1980’s. Yet, Penn State got a 4-year bowl ban, loss of scholarships, a $60 million dollar fine, and other penalities.
His team was not eligible to play in the post season this year, and have to miss the next three bowl seasons due to the sanctions. He also lost nearly 12 players after the sanctions as they were allowed to transfer to another school without having to sit out a season.
The team started off slow, as they lost their first two games of the season. They lost at home to Ohio, then on the road at Virginia.
After the Virginia loss, the team reeled off five straight wins. They would not lose again until October 27th when they lost to Ohio State.
They would win three of their next four games. Their final loss would come to Nebraska, which just happens to be the same time that they loss to in their first game last season after the Paterno firing.
His contract has a stipulation in it that says should he terminate his contract with the school; the damages would be his base salary plus $1.35 million per season. These measures apply to his entire nine-year contract.
O’Brien makes $2.3 million a year. And if you would add the additional $1.35 million over the next eight years, it comes out to $18.4 million for his buyout.
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