By Robin Rieger
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – “Thank you for helping me get to where I am today and for being there for me in my lowest moments,” said Adam Taliaferro.
That’s what he says he would have told former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, his mentor, given the chance to see him one last time.
“We all know what he stands for,” said Taliaferro.
He says Paterno gave him hope when doctors gave him a slim chance of ever walking again following a paralyzing spinal cord injury he sustained during a Penn State game in September 2000.
“He said ‘You’re first going to walk, you’re going to get better,” said Taliaferro.
He says even during his lengthy rehabilitation where he got back on his feet, Paterno was a frequent visitor. Surrounded by his Penn
State memories, Taliaferro mourns Paterno as do other local former players.
“For me it’s a tragic loss,” said Ed Monaghan.
Former Penn State football player Ed Monaghan now an Upper Darby councilman says his time with Paterno left a lasting impression.
“I attribute a lot of the things I do and things that have been good for me from Joe,” said Monaghan.
Paterno was fired following child sex abuse charges against his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Some fans think it took its toll as he battled lung cancer.