- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Linebacker Sean Lee, a proud Penn State alum, released a statement via the Cowboys public relations office in response to his alma mater’s hiring of Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, which has been criticized by several former Nittany Lions who played for Joe Paterno.
"Many former Penn State players, including myself, had hoped an assistant coach from the prior staff would be appointed as the next head coach because we felt it would help preserve the tradition built by Coach Paterno,” Lee said in the statment. “The University has chosen to move in a different direction by hiring Coach O'Brien, and as of today, we need to consider him a Penn Stater.
"Alumni, current players and students need to rally around him and try to help him be as successful as possible. If you have reservations on whether Coach O'Brien embodies the Penn State tradition, instead of turning our backs on him, we need to embrace him and help him understand the Penn State way. The best thing for Penn State right now is to support Coach O'Brien and that is what I intend to do.
"I would also like to lend my support to the assistant coaches who have held the program together during its toughest times. Coaches such as Tom Bradley, Ron Vanderlinden and Larry Johnson Sr. deserve to be applauded for the way they have led the program the past couple of months. Hopefully, Coach O'Brien will consider them for his staff because not only are they great coaches, but they are people with great integrity."