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Is Penn State’s O’Brien ready for return to NFL?
Last year Penn State coach Bill O’Brien was involved with the openings at Cleveland and Philadelphia before opting to remain in Happy Valley.
La Confora reports that O’Brien has already been approached by the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings. He’s also expected to be in play if (when?) the Washington Redskins sack Mike Shanahan.
O’Brien’s contract was amended in late June and he was given a raise of nearly $1 million, but according to La Canfora, the buyout in O’Brien’s contract is made up of only his base salary multiplied by the years left on his contract.
That figure that would total roughly $5 million, a number that wouldn’t scare off NFL clubs. Additionallly, La Canfora says there is some question whether or not “paying the buyout would actually come into play because of NCAA sanctions.”
O’Brien struggled with the decision of whether or not to return to the NFL last year, but he ultimately decided that he owed it to his players to stay at Penn State for a second season.
Still, it’s no secret that relations between him and the school frayed somewhat when Penn State was subjected to more post-Sandusky sanctions than expected, and with the recent resignations of quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden the timing might be right for O’Brien to make a move.
Most expect the Texans to ultimately go in a direction other than O’Brien, and guys like Jack Del Rio will be heavily involved with the Vikings should that job become available.
But with several top college coaches signing extensions and a few other NFL jobs expected to open, a coach with O’Brien’s experience in both college and the pros is certain to be in high demand.