ollieogbu

Mike Patterson out… and what if Joe Pa had taken Eagles job?

Big Mike Patterson has been medically ruled out of Eagles Training Camp, proving I suppose there is no such thing as “minor” brain surgery…

Ironically, the Eagles turn to former Penn State alum and defensive captain Ollie Ogbu to fill the roster vacancy left by Patterson at defensive tackle.

DT Ollie Ogbu takes down Marcus Thigpen in this Penn State file photo… Ogbu is 6-1, 305, and was acquired by the Indy Colts in 2011 as an undrafted free agent…he played on the practice squad last year for the Colts.

The Eagles traded defensive back D.J. Johnson to the Colts for defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu. Johnson has spent time on several NFL rosters over the last few years, including the New York Giants. The Eagles signed him to their practice squad in December.

The Eagles also announced the signings of wide receiver Anthony “Tiger” Jones and cornerback Kee-ayre Griffin. Both players have local ties. Jones (5-11, 195, Louisville) comes from the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena League, where he played for four seasons. Griffin (5-10, 182) played at Temple. The Eagles gave him a tryout during rookie minicamp in May.

Of course, the spotlight is already on 1st round pick Fletcher Cox, and not Ogbu, to assume the presence on the D-Line once maintained very competently by Patterson. In fact, Ogbu is not even in camp yet, as he awaits the outcome of D.J. Johnson’s physical exam in Indianapolis.

FletcherCoxTC
Here’s a live Twitter feed photo from Jeff McLane of philly.com of Fletcher Cox fielding the inevitable “are you ready to step up?” questions from the media at this morning’s camp session…

Meanwhile it’s difficult to ignore the NCAA’s massive Monday morning bludgeoning of the Penn State football program today…and the concomitant assassination of the Joe Paterno legacy.

As GK Brizer has stated, it’s an unpleasant story, and not one we wish to dwell upon. I just want to summarize the terms of the NCAA punishment, and briefly wonder if any of this would even be happening right now if Joe Paterno had taken that Eagles coaching offer so many years ago…

The NCAA ruling wiped away 14 years of coach Joe Paterno’s victories and imposed a mountain of fines and penalties, crippling a program whose pedophile assistant coach spent uncounted years molesting children, sometimes on university property.

The sanctions by the governing body of college sports, which capped eight months of turmoil on the central Pennsylvania campus, stopped short of delivering the ”death penalty” of shutting down the sport. But the NCAA hit Penn State with $60 million in fines, ordered it out of the postseason for four years, and will cap scholarships at 20 below the normal limit for four years. The school also will be on probation for five years.

The Big Ten announced that Penn State would not be allowed to share in the conference’s bowl revenue during the NCAA’s postseason ban, an estimated loss of about $13 million. And the NCAA reserved the right to add additional penalties. The NCAA fast-tracked penalties rather than go through the usual circuitous series of investigations and hearings. The NCAA said the $60 million is equivalent to the annual gross revenue of the football program. The money must be paid into an endowment for external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at Penn State.

By vacating 112 Penn State victories from 1998-2011, the sanctions cost Paterno 111 wins. Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden will now hold the top spot in the NCAA record book with 377 major-college (FBS) wins. Eddie Robinson holds the record for Division I-AA (FCS) wins with 408. John Gagliardi has the most wins of any coach in college football history with 484. Paterno, who was fired days after Sandusky was charged, will be credited with 298 wins.

JoePa

It’s no secret among older Eagles fans that Paterno was approached in the ’60’s and ’70’s by then-ownership of the Eagles to take the coaching job in Philadelphia. I can’t help but wonder how his history and legacy might have unfolded differently if he had taken that NFL job offer. Maybe he would have coached in the NFL for a few years and gone back to Penn State, and the same disastrous hiring of the creep Sandusky would have happened anyway… Maybe he would have coached for 10 years in the NFL and stayed in the league in a scouting or management capacity…We’ll never know about that road not taken.

But one thing I know for sure— Paterno preached doing things the right way, the Penn State way, his entire teaching and coaching career. Paterno’s ”Grand Experiment” was about winning with integrity, graduating players and sending men into the world ready to succeed in life, not just football.

Maybe just for today I’ll entertain the fantastic thought that Paterno took that Eagles job long ago, achieved NFL success and legendary respect at the pro level, then went home to Penn State—to serve on their Board of Trustees. If it had played out like that, the creep Sandusky would either have never been hired—or outed a long time ago.

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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