Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
One report on Thursday had Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien leaving the Nittany Lions for the NFL. Sources from Penn State, however, are reportedly saying that any rumors of O'Brien leaving are premature.
Coaching Penn State to an 8-4 record, including an unexpected 6-2 in the Big Ten -- it was clear O'Brien would be getting attention from one of the numerous NFL teams looking to fill their coaching vacancy following the 2012 season. Earlier, a report stated the odds were "very good" that O'Brien would leave Penn State after one season. However, in talking to sources inside Penn State, Pete Thamel says Penn State is appealing to O'Brien's emotions, and it could be enough to convince him to return for a second year:
The source said that the university is tugging at O'Brien's heartstrings and attachment to the school that gave him his break to be a head coach. The emotional tie O'Brien has to the school is a looming factor in any decision on his future.
NFL teams are moving quickly to try and secure Bill O'Brien's services, with the first-year head coach already interviewing with the Cleveland Browns. One potential sticking point remains his buyout, which would cost a team $18 million to sign him to a contract. As it stands, professional teams aren't balking at the amount, and Penn State seems appropriately concerned it will lose their head coach before his second season.