Pats coordinator O’Brien reflects on Paterno’s passing

This doesn’t have anything to do with the Ravens, but in light of the team’s matchup with the Patriots for the AFC championship, I thought I would pass along current Patriots offensive coordinator and Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien’s words on Joe Paterno’s passing.

“It is with great sadness that I am compelled to deliver this message of condolence and tribute to a great man, husband, father and someone who is more than just a coach, Joe Paterno,” O’Brien said in a statement released through the university. “First, on behalf of Penn State Football, we offer our sincerest condolences to the Paterno family for their loss. We also offer our condolences to the Penn State community and, in particular, to those who wore the Penn State colors, our Nittany Lion football players and alumni.

“Today they lost a great man, coach, mentor and, in many cases, a father figure, and we extend our deepest sympathies.

“The Penn State Football program is one of college football’s iconic programs because it was led by an icon in the coaching profession in Joe Paterno. There are no words to express my respect for him as a man and as a coach. To be following in his footsteps at Penn State is an honor. Our families, our football program, our university and all of college football have suffered a great loss, and we will be eternally grateful for Coach Paterno’s immeasurable contributions.”

Paterno passed away early Sunday morning at the age of 85. The iconic figure served as head coach at Penn State for more than 40 years, but was fired last November in the wake of sexual abuse allegations toward former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Earlier this month O’Brien accepted the position as head coach for the Nittany Lions, but has insisted he will finish his duties with the Patriots before transitioning back to the collegiate level.