Munchak applauds O'Brien's work at Penn State


Munchak applauds O'Brien's work at Penn State

FOXBORO -- Last December, the first choice of many Penn Staters to save their embattled program was Mike Munchak. The former Nittany Lion said he was flattered by the interest. Reports at the time stated that Munchak wrestled with the decision but his decision to stay in Tennessee was firm. Wednesday, he spoke about the man who ultimately got the job, former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. "He stepped into a really very tough situation and from everything I heard and the people that are close to Penn State they think he's done a great job of holding them together in a very tough situation obviously," Munchak said on a conference call while getting his team prepared for the opener against the Patriots.
"I'm sure no one was aware of the sanctions and what was going to happen and how hard his job was actually going to become," he said. "It got worse probably than anyone expected I think from what I've heard."What's impressed Munchak -- andmost observers -- is the solidarity O'Brien's been able to foster.

"I talked to him initially when he first got the job, we talked a little bit on the phone, and I was excited for him, just knowing his background I thought he'd be a great fit as he has been for Penn State and what he could bring to the program going forward," Munchak explained. "I think you could see that from right here how the players have responded to him, and the alumni . . . a lot of the players I know that have been up there are very impressed with how he's handled a very, very tough situation. "I thought he did a nice job of holding the meetings and having the past letter men be part of stuff and he'd listen to what they had to say," Munchak added. "I think he handled a tough situation very well. Unfortunately we would have loved to see them win last weekend. Heck, they started off 14-3 I thought they were going to have a big day but there will be better days coming forward. We're all looking forward to Penn State making a big rebound and I'm sure he'll be a big part of that if that happens."

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”