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Players, coaches, students react to Paterno news

- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A sampling of reaction from Penn State players, coaches, alumni and others on Joe Paterno's decision to retire as coach after the season following child sex-abuse charges against former assistant Jerry Sandusky:

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"It's really, really pulling on the emotions of the students. Right now, they don't know how to feel." _ Penn State student body president T.J. Bard, a 20-year-old junior who says he's seen students in tears in the hallways.

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"I think everybody makes mistakes and this is as horrific a mistake as has been made. ... I think if the allegations are true, that everyone needs to be accountable because it's inexcusable." _ Pittsburgh attorney Jon Perry, a 1997 graduate whose son, Alex, was accepted to Penn State's main campus on Tuesday.

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"I love coach Paterno so am I emotional, yeah. People you love and care about, this is a hard thing for him, I'm sure. I know it is. So it hurts me when someone you love hurts. Other than that I have a job to do. I know he'd want me to do nothing else but take care of my team. Joe is but he's not a big sentimental guy. 'Do your job, kid.' That's what he'd say." _ Rutgers coach and former Penn State assistant Greg Schiano.

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"Shocked. It's not going to sink in yet. He's been a staple here for so long. It's kind of hard to realize there's going to be change." _ Penn State junior Troy Weller, from Hatboro, Pa.

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"I've never seen players get that way. I've never seen coaches get that way. I've never seen coach (Paterno) get that down before." _ Penn State junior cornerback Stephon Morris following Wednesday meeting with Paterno.

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"Joe Paterno should step aside now and be happy that that's all he has to do!!" _ Michael Strahan, former New York Giants' defensive end and TV analyst, via Twitter.

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"It's a terrible, sad series of events, especially that would lead to someone who's accomplished so much retiring. But I think the most important concern in all of this is for the kids. That would be my utmost concern relative to this circumstance." _ Alabama coach Nick Saban.

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". ... I love Penn State. I went to school there, it was such an important part of my life. It's part of me. I will never say, 'Oh, I regret going there now because of it. That's just now the case. ... But this situation is just an unbelievable black eye for the program and it's going to be tough because whenever anybody says Penn State or you see Penn State, sexual assault of young kids is what's going to come mind, and that's such an unfortunate thing." _ Jacksonville Jaguars and former Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny.

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"I've certainly been in prayer for the young people that are involved in this, young men as they are now. I certainly feel for them. I don't know a whole lot about all the details. I haven't read through all the transcripts and things of that nature. ... I'm also very close to coach Paterno. It's tough to see his legacy ending in this way." _ Indianapolis Colts coach and former Penn State assistant Jim Caldwell.

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"I honestly don't know much about what's going on there. I can't speculate on things I don't know. It's not a distraction for our football team. We haven't talked about it. We won't talk about it. I don't believe in speaking on things I don't know anything about. I'll leave it at that." _ Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, whose team plays Penn State on Saturday.

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"This one moment in time, this one decision, is going to tarnish his reputation and put a big black eye on Penn State and what he stood for. I can't imagine what it will be like to live with, knowing you knew this nine years go and you did the bare minimum. How many more lives were affected by that decision not to go to police? How could he betray all of us like that?" _ Penn State graduate Kathy Schmouder, 39, Selinsgrove, Pa.

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"Just disheartening, sad and clearly hearts and my thoughts and prayers go out for the young people, the victims in this case, and certainly, equally, my prayers go out to coach, too. It's tough." _ University of Miami coach Al Golden, who played at Penn State and was on Paterno's staff in 2000.

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"Obviously, everybody who's heard about this is disturbed by this. It's gross, and it's a crime where, if it's true, it's the worst of the worst. But, like I've said, I stand behind coach Paterno. He's a guy who has kept players out of games for missing class, so for people to think that he did anything in terms of covering this up, I don't necessarily think that's his M.O." _ Pittsburgh Steelers and former Penn State punter Jeremy Kapinos.

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"I think it's the right thing. (Morally) he didn't do what he should have. He's doing the right thing by stepping down to preserve the Penn State football program. It's sad to see it happen under such a bad situation but at the same time everyone was sort of preparing themselves for it." _ Penn State freshman Jake Schur.

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"I don't know enough. Nobody really knows. Maybe that stuff will all come out. Maybe it won't. If he understood the magnitude, maybe he didn't want to believe it back then. Your best friend. You coached with him for 23 years. That's a pretty tight friendship. I don't know if any way shape or form he'd be protecting that. He's not that kind of person. Maybe he just didn't realize the magnitude of what was happening at the time." _ Former Penn State player Rich Mauti, whose son, Michael, is a linebacker on the team.

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"It's obviously an extremely sad and shocking situation up there. You just pray for all of those children. You pray for the victims. Obviously, you pray for the families and you hope that justice is done. Then hopefully, once justice is done, Penn State can move on and be the great university it has been. There are a lot of great people up there, and I'm very proud to come from Penn State." _ Dallas Cowboys and former Penn State linebacker Sean Lee.

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