Lions dismiss Paterno retirement rumors
During the Outback Bowl's annual team-welcome dinner Sunday evening, Penn State's two team captains dismissed online reports indicating 84-year-old coach Joe Paterno will retire following the Outback Bowl.
NBC-affiliated College Football Talk, citing unnamed "multiple sources in and around" Penn State's athletic department, reported the "wheels have been set in motion" for Paterno to walk away after the New Year's Day game against Florida. Health concerns are cited as the main reason for his alleged impending retirement.
Paterno, who recently said he intends to return for the 2011 season, spoke only briefly at the dinner and didn't address the reports, but fifth-year senior receiver and team captain Brett Brackett denied them. Brackett said Paterno hasn't addressed the rumors with the team.
"There's been a few things that have been said, but we're around Coach every day," Brackett said. "There's no truth to these rumors at all. We experience him every day. ... Nobody understands how hands-on he really is, so we really know what Coach does, and when those rumors go around they more anger us than anything because we get to experience him every day."
Fellow team captain Ollie Ogbu, an all-Big Ten defensive tackle, also dismissed the rumors.
"I heard he was going out in '05 when I was in high school," Ogbu said. "It's one of those things where it's in the back of your head but you don't pay attention to them."
-- JOEY KNIGHT