The outward reaction from former Penn State players and alumni to the hiring of Bill O'Brien has not been good. O'Brien, introduced Saturday morning as the man taking over the embattled program stained by the Jerry Sandusky child rape scandal, said his hiring was "unbelievable." Some in the Penn State community felt the same way.And Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, in a statement that seemed designed to meet those criticisms, had this to say, "Over the course of his long coaching career, Bill OBrien has met every personal and professional challenge head on with great passion and competitiveness."I expect Bill to draw on his deep background in college football and the NFL to continue attracting and developing top players. "For five years, Bills outstanding work with our quarterbacks and entire offense has led to record-setting performances. His presence and command before our team has grown into that of a inspirational leader. This is a great match between a storied program and a old-school football coach. Bill will be up to the task and I couldnt be happier for him, Colleen and the OBrien family."A few interesting takeaways from that. 1) Belichick giving a nod to his ability to recruit and develop. 2) His praise of O'Brien as a leader, important as he steps in Joe Paterno's spot. 3) The uncharacteristic noting of "record-setting performances". 4) Describing O'Brien as an "old-school football coach" knowing that would be an embraceable image for Penn State.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert touched briefly on the team’s unsuccessful attempt to lure Dont’a Hightower away from New England in free agency.
Hightower returned to the Patriots this month on a four-year, $43.5 million deal with $19 million guaranteed. He was also courted by the Jets and Steelers, among others, with his offer from the Jets reported to be the biggest before they reportedly pulled it due to physical concerns.
The Steelers also reportedly offered more money than the Patriots, with Jason La Canfora reporting that Pittsburgh offered more than $9 million annually. Hightower’s deal with the Pats pays him $8.7 million per year.
“We made an attempt [with Hightower], it didn’t work,” Colbert told reporters. “We’re fine. We move on. Vince Williams, we were very confident in Vince. That’s why we signed him to the extension last year. So that if we got to this point and Lawrence had left us, and we didn’t sign anybody from the outside, Vince was certainly capable of stepping up and being the next guy.”
Hightower is entering his sixth season with the Patriots, who selected him with the 25th overall pick in the 2012 draft.
It's been a long time since Tom Brady's been considered a true underdog. You might have to go back to Super Bowl XXXVI for anyone to remember a time when it seemed like the quarterback with the most championships in NFL history was a long shot to win.
Not when it comes golf, though.
But even Brady knew he faced long odds against Jordan Spieth at Augusta. According to Brady's Instagram page, it seems as though the two Under Armour pitch men made up a foursome at the famed course about two weeks before the Masters kicked off.
Brady has also taken on Augusta with Rory McIlroy. Still waiting on those scores to come out, but as with the recent Spieth round, probably shouldn't hold your breath.