January 7, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Coach Bill O'Brien clears the air of speculation regarding his coaching status at Penn State. He went 8-4 in his first season as the Nittany Lions coach, and was in talks with NFL teams during part of the offseason.
Bill O'Brien said it's not about the money.
O'Brien addressed the media Monday for the first time since reaffirming his commitment to Penn State amid rumors he would make the jump to the NFL. And though reports of a raise for O'Brien at Penn State were published by some media outlets last week, the coach was adamant he never asked for more money.
"You really don't know me if you write something or say something that I did this for leverage or money," O'Brien said.
When asked if he would receive a $1.3 million donation from Buffalo Sabres owner and Penn State alumni Terry Pegula, O'Brien responded with a resounding "no."
O'Brien also said he continues to stand behind acting Athletic Director Dave Joyner and Penn State President Rodney Erickson. Joyner was also in attendance at the press conference at Beaver Stadium and spoke with the media after O'Brien was finished.
"Bill O'Brien is committed to Penn State," Joyner said. "I personally believe he'll be here for a long time."
O'Brien delivered an opening statement at his press conference that lasted nearly 15 minutes, and he said he had "conversations" with some NFL teams with coaching vacancies, but didn't disclose the specific teams. The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator said he wanted to look at his opportunities at the next level, but said he couldn't be happier to be at Penn State.
"It wasn't a decision to stay, no job was ever offered to me," O'Brien said. "I had a couple of conversations and I decided that I love Penn State."
Though O'Brien said he won't receive a raise, he wants to do all he can to put the Nittany Lions' football program on the cutting edge. O'Brien noted he would like to possibly add personnel for recruiting or make some other changes to benefit his players and assistant coaches.
"My horses in the race here at Penn State are my players and my coaching staff," O'Brien said.
The 43-year-old head coach didn't elaborate on any conversations he has had with current players about his NFL rumors, but noted running back Curtis Dukes would not return to the team this semester.
O'Brien was also asked if the NFL rumors could become a yearly issue, to which O'Brien responded "I plan to be the head football coach here..I really enjoy the kids I coach here so, no."