Former players show support for Paterno after his firing
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Former Penn State offensive tackle Keith Conlin said Thursday he worries about Joe Paterno's life after football.
"Put yourself in Joe's shoes and you're no longer the coach of Penn State," Conlin said. "Imagine the emotions he's feeling. This is the first day he wakes up in 62 years ... [and] he's no longer the head coach, no longer employed at Penn State."
Conlin was one of a trio of former players representing the Penn State Football Letterman's Club who called an impromptu news conference outside the Lasch Football Building to offer their support for Paterno and interim coach Tom Bradley.
They said they had a chance to address the current team before practice and encouraged former players to attend the game Saturday against Nebraska at Beaver Stadium.
Conlin, who has two other brothers who also played for Paterno, said it was tough watching his former coach get fired late Wednesday night after a unanimous vote by the Penn State board of trustees.
The child sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky ultimately ended Paterno's Hall of Fame career.
Other well-wishers, some carrying flowers, came and went from Paterno's house on McKee Street throughout the day, but he did not appear.
Paterno, who turns 85 next month, has acknowledged in the past that he has very few interests outside football.
"That's what kept him young, being around the team, being around the players," Conlin said. "You hope nothing would happen [to Joe now], but he's getting older.
"I do worry about him and his life after football."
Asked what kind of a crowd he expected for the first Penn State game not involving Paterno since 1949, Conlin laughed.
"Bizarre. It's going to be a clown show," he said. "People are going to picketing this and picketing that."
The questions about whether Paterno could have done more in 2002 when he learned of Sandusky's alleged abuse of a boy continued to reverberate.
Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey said Thursday they are rescinding their support of Paterno's nomination for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the nation.
They nominated Paterno in September, writing in a letter to President Barack Obama that "[c]oach Paterno over the years has shown tremendous character and loyalty. Throughout his time at Penn State, he has remained committed to reaching goals without sacrificing the ideals that are central to higher education."
The senators on Thursday afternoon issued a statement saying that "in light of recent events, we are rescinding our support for the nomination."
And a Big Ten spokesman said Thursday the conference has not made a decision on whether to keep Paterno's name on the conference's championship trophy.
First Published November 11, 2011 12:00 am