Penn State Players Afraid Of Accidentally Killing Coach
Hospitalized after a receiver crashed into him on the field last Sunday, Joe Paterno’s return to practice Wednesday came as a vast relief to Penn State players, all of whom live in constant fear of being the one who inevitably kills the 84-year-old head coach.
“Every day we go to the field worried about which one of us will accidentally bump into Coach, cause his entire body to fall apart, and kill him,” senior defensive end Jack Crawford said. “There’s no doubt we are going to be the ones responsible for his death. That’s inevitable. It’s just a question of who and when.”
“At this point, it’s part of the Happy Valley tradition,” Crawford added. “No names on the jerseys, ringing the victory bell, and being very, very careful not to be the reason Coach Paterno dies.”
Paterno, who suffered minor fractures during Sunday’s accident, also had his leg broken during a 2006 game against Wisconsin and injured himself in a 2008 practice while demonstrating an onside kick. In fact, Nittany Lions players and coaches confirmed, Paterno has been close to death an average of once a week for the past 30 years.