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Ferguson Not Wrong To Put Penn State On Hold

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Instead of answering questions about the team's quarterback competition, head coach Bill O'Brien has had to defend Tyler Ferguson's absence from summer workouts. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.
Instead of answering questions about the team's quarterback competition, head coach Bill O'Brien has had to defend Tyler Ferguson's absence from summer workouts. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

Football is an escape from real life.

It’s a chance for players to strap on a helmet and hit the bejeezus out of everything that moves and for fans to lose their voices from the stands or their own couch.

But real life isn’t always escapable.

Penn State’s Tyler Ferguson went MIA a few weeks ago to be in California with his ailing mother, Kelly Reese, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. While his absence from this summer’s voluntary workouts — code word in sports for be here —are excused by head coach Bill O’Brien, it has created a fringe buzz in the media and message boards alike about the quarterback’s commitment to Penn State.

Shame on anyone for even contemplating Ferguson’s future at Penn State. His first commitment, now and always, should be his family. That’s non-negotiable.

Still, Ferguson’s step-father had to answer questions about his step-son’s absence less than two weeks ago, as if the young quarterback skipped town to party with his posse on the West Coast. How callous is that?

O’Brien also recently had to answer whether or not his young quarterback’s commitment to his family infringed on his ability to land the starting quarterback job. How yellow is that?

Each confirmed multiple times that Ferguson wasn’t seeking a transfer out of Happy Valley, that he would be back in August and that he wants to be Penn State’s starting quarterback.

Soon, Ferguson is going to be peppered with those same questions. Here's to hoping the kid, as good as it would feel, doesn’t cold-clock the crooked reporter. Hopefully, he just says that the interview is over and escapes to the football field.