Tom Bradley had the privilege of both playing for and coaching alongside Joe Paterno for half of his life. When Paterno was removed from his head coaching position in November, it was Bradley who stepped in as interim coach to finish out the 2011 season. On Sunday, Bradley released a statement reacting to the news of the passing of his coach, colleague, and friend. As Adam Rittenberg notes, Bradley said on SportsCenter Sunday morning that he thought Paterno would go down as the greatest college football coach of all time.
Words seem to pale in a moment such as this. The terms "icon" and "legend" have often been used to describe Joe Paterno. Certainly, he was both within the world of college athletics. But to those of us who played for him, to those of us who coached with him and to those of us who had the privilege to call him a friend, Joe Paterno was much more.
The statement is a touching tribute to the man he knew so well.