Bill O'Brien apologizes for 'Paterno people' rant

Bill O'Brien apologizes for 'Paterno people' rant
January 15, 2014, 4:00 pm

Bill O'Brien went 15-9 in two seasons at Penn State after replacing legendary head coach Joe Paterno. (USA Today Images)

About a month before he left Penn State to take the Houston Texans' head coaching job, Bill O'Brien sounded off over the phone to David Jones of the Patriot News about folks he referred to as "Paterno people."

“You can print this: You can print that I don’t really give a ---- what the ‘Paterno people’ think about what I do with this program," O'Brien said then. "I’ve done everything I can to show respect to Coach Paterno. Everything in my power. So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. I’m tired of it."

On Wednesday, O'Brien apologized for those remarks in a radio interview with ESPN's "Mike and Mike."

"I felt like I had a ton of support at Penn State. My staff had a ton of support at Penn State, and I regret that that conversation even took place. I regret that.

"I know I had a ton of support at Penn State. Penn State is a special place. I believe in what we did while at Penn State, I think Penn State is in a better spot now than it was two years ago. I think my staff, myself, our players are very proud of that. I feel like Penn State is a place where you can win national championships and Big Ten championships."

O'Brien's rant was caused by Jones' comment to the then Nittany Lions' coach that some supporters from the Joe Paterno era felt they deserved an explanation for why longtime assistant Ron Vanderlinden abruptly left his post.

“For any ‘Paterno person’ to have any objection to what I’m doing, it makes me wanna put my fist through this windshield right now," O'Brien said then.

Apparently he's calmed down.