Following his broken leg suffered in a sideline collision on Saturday against Wisconsin, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno has applied for a medical redshirt for the 2006 season with an eye toward keeping his 2007 eligibility safe.
Paterno, seen here with brother at Brown, has applied for a 63rd year of eligibliity.
The application requests an unprecedented 63rd year of eligibility for the spry 79 year-old, who in addition to being college football's winningest D-1 coach is also an accomplished defensive back. Paterno still shares the Brown University record for career interceptions, and demonstrated no loss of catch-up speed in chasing down Big Ten official Dick Honig in 2002.
"Believe me, age ain't nothing but a number to that man," said Honig from his home on Sunday. "He's got some jet left in those black Nikes. Plus he's got a grip like a one-armed cowhand--I still don't have feeling in most of my left shoulder after he grabbed me."
Former qb Kerry Collins concurs. "The man's unnatural. I once used a double negative in a postgame interview, and here comes this little goblin at a dead sprint at me out of the shower, wearing nothing but those sunglasses. The best part is him screaming at me "We couldn't do anything right, not nothing! He's kinda strict about grammar."
Collins stared into the distance, and then smiled.
"In fact, since that day I've been completely colorblind, and go into a fugue state when the barometric pressure dips below 1100 millibars. This has not adversely affected my career in any way since, though."
Collins: totally unaffected by the side effects of a Paterno blindside.
If Paterno's athleticism is still a given, his chances at NCAA approval are not. His unprecedented application has raised some eyebrows at NCAA headquarters, and according to one source has the Brand Brahmins scratching their collective heads.
"No other athlete since Ron Powlus has been given this kind of eligibility. No one. And we weren't real excited about giving him his ninth year to begin with...and now we're talking about a 63rd? Frankly, we don't know how he ever slipped through the 12th year without some institutional scrutiny of any sort. This is really a problem of enforcement by the university. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a three-hour lunch break to get to."
Paterno, for one, is optimistic.
"I survived the Plague, the Haymarket Riot, the War of Spanish Succession, and all that 'talk to the hand' business just to have a bunch of pencilnecks tell me I can't have another year? I'll tell them what I told Douglas MacArthur: she's my Filipina mistress, and when she comes begging for the pickle tickle from you and the free lunches from me, then I'll know I've lost. My rehab's underway--tell Myles Brand I'm running free and blitzing off the corner. He better max protect."