O’Brien talks about flirtation with NFL, other rumors

York, PA –

STATE COLLEGE — Bill O’Brien opened things up in the Beaver Stadium interview room by cracking about his dark blazer and striped dress shirt, a rather formal look for the warm-up jacket-kind-of-guy.

He Dan Connolly Jersey was on his way to a speaking engagement at the annual convention of college football coaches in Nashville, Tenn.

But make no mistake, his press conference Monday, which also included athletic director Dave Joyner, was, truly, about appearances.

This was Penn State officials’ opportunity to tell their side of the story of the past week.

Mostly, it was a session to attempt to clear up days of supposed rumors and address print and Internet stories relating to O’Brien’s flirting with the NFL, his eventual re-commitment to Penn State and a reported stormy relationship with university hierarchy.

Before taking questions, O’Brien gave a lengthy statement in which he denied reports that he accepted a booster’s gift to increase his Dane Fletcher Jersey salary.

Also, multiple times he confirmed a strong working relationship with Joyner and university president Rodney Erickson.

In short, he claimed that returning to coach Penn State this year — or coaching, in general — will never be about money.

O’Brien said he has never asked for a raise in his 20-year coaching career.

“If I was about money, more than likely, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now.

“You really don’t know me if you write something or say something about this guy did something for leverage or for money. I didn’t do anything. I had a conversation in the best interests of my family with a few (NFL) people.”

O’Brien has at least eight years left on a contract extended by NCAA sanctions. He is being paid $2.3 million per year and it was widely reported last week that he would receive a significant bump in salary, possibly by $1.3 million.

His contract buyout, however, is estimated at between $9 million and more than $18 million. Joyner declined to elaborate on those specifics Monday.

Joyner did say any reported animosity or even true obstacles to O’Brien returning “were misconstrued and spiraled out of control.

“There were no demands. There was no, ‘If you’re going to do this, I’m going to do that.’ There was none of that.”

Joyner said he believes O’Brien is at Penn State for the longer haul.

The closest O’Brien came to a similar statement was professing he and his family’s love and satisfaction with State College and working here. He said he plans to keep coaching the Nittany Lions.

He did, however, admit to the need to continually upgrading the football program here, as he would anywhere. The goal is to keep Penn State on the “cutting edge” in terms of strength and conditioning, recruiting and marketing.

He declined to get into specifics.

“The best football programs are always the ones that are thinking Daniel Fells Jersey about ways to do things differently,” O’Brien said. “We can’t just sit and stay the same. We’ve got to be creative, think out of the box.”

One point of speculation has been his assistant coaches. At least twice he talked about efforts to keep his staff satisfied and, hopefully, together with him.

“You never want to hold those guys back (from other job possibilities),” O’Brien said. “I think these guys are paid well. I think they can always be paid better. There’s things we’ve talked about, ways we can do that. We’ll do the best we can to try to make it attractive to coach here.” Though he referenced his expected love for the NFL, he attempted to focus his opening statement and response to questions on the positives of being at Penn State moving forward.

“I can’t wait for spring practice. Over the next month and a half you really won’t be able to get a hold of me because I’ll be out recruiting. I’m really excited about the direction of recruiting.”

But the thing most fans and maybe even players are concerned about?

That’s whether more of this coaching uncertainty will become a yearly occurrence.

O’Brien ended his press conference with a back-and-forth statement of his future that could be viewed a couple of different ways:

“I plan to be the head football coach here.

“I love coaching Danny Woodhead Jersey here, love living here, really enjoy the kids here, love living here, really enjoy the kids that I coach here. Again, I’m not a genie, I don’t have a crystal ball. I have a lot of respect for that league (the NFL). I love that league.”


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