Reporter On Paterno: ‘Should he be driving a car?’

Mike Gross, Assistant Sports Editor of the LANCASTER (PA) SUNDAY NEWS, has another delicately-phrased, thoughtful piece wondering if Joe Paterno has the physical and mental capacity to coach Penn State this season.

Joe Paterno No Glasses Photo

(Through it all, Joe remains low maintenance)

Gross reports that as bad as Paterno looked and sounded at Big Ten media day two weeks ago, last Thursday at Penn State’s annual media day the coach actually appeared to be worse off.

Joe is 83. At the Big Ten Conference’s media days at the beginning of this month, he looked at least that old, very thin and inarticulate.

After struggling with slurred speech in the main media sessions there, he seemed to bounce back some in a solo interview with ESPN.

But Thursday there was no ESPN, no travel more wearying than the three-minute drive from his State College home to Beaver Stadium.

He looked and sounded much worse in person.

He is shockingly thin. Gaunt isn’t the right word only because of his burnished golden sun tan, no doubt the result of recent beach strolls at his vacation home in Avalon, N.J.

He moved and walked slowly, laboriously.

Team, position-group and coaching-staff photos are always taken at media day. That entailed Joe climbing stadium steps, and the concern on the faces of his staff as he neared the steps was obvious. He shooed away offers to help.

More specifics from Gross on Paterno’s ability to articulate his thoughts: Read more…

Paterno: ‘Speech Slurred, Intellect Seemed Slowed’

This week David Jones of the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS has a thoughtful piece on what appears to be the failing health of 83-year-old Joe Paterno.

Joe Paterno

Though putting it as delicately as possible, Jones description of Paterno’s Monday appearance at Big 10 media day in Chicago was ominous.

On Monday at the first of two Big Ten Football Kickoff interview sessions, Joe Paterno looked pretty good to the distant eye. Tanned, reasonably ambulatory. Some weight loss, but that’s fine.

It was when the always quick-witted Penn State football coach opened his mouth that everyone here opened theirs. In surprise.

Paterno sounded very much like something he never has — an old man. It was stunning and melancholy and not a pleasant sound.

It gets worse. Read more…