By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hiring Bill O’Brien to be an NFL team’s head coach may be a costly proposition. The buyout clause in his contract reportedly could cost anywhere between $9 million and $19 million. But if you’re willing to fork over the cash, he’s willing to make the leap to the NFL.
“He’s very intrigued and it all happened pretty quickly. It blew up pretty quickly, but he’s not going to turn down an NFL job, he’s just not, especially the Eagles,” David Jones of the Harrisburg-Patriot News told 94WIP’s Michael Barkann and Rob Ellis. “I guess you can entertain turning down the Browns. If that’s your holy grail, if you’re an NFL type-guy, and he is, he runs an NFL-type offense even with Penn State. He runs an offense that would be amenable to NFL styles because, unlike Chip Kelly, he’s not going to put his quarterback in danger. His quarterback runs the way Tom Brady and the Patriots ran, and that makes more sense to me, for an NFL offense. He’s a real attractive guy to NFL teams, especially the two we are talking about the most [Eagles and Browns].”
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was reportedly “intrigued” by the notion of hiring O’Brien away from Penn State. But what about that buyout clause?
“You know, billionaire owners they’ve got deep pockets. They can amortize it and lay it over a few years, and I don’t think that’s a big deal if they decide this is the guy they want,” Jones said. “Cleveland and the Eagles seem pretty serious about him, and I think he is going to interview really, really well. One way or another I think it will be over this weekend because I think those are the two [teams] that are most serious about him. The guy has a certain presence about him that I think is going to work really well with NFL owners.”
O’Brien led the Penn State Nittany Lions to a surprising 8-4 record in 2012 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. O’Brien was crucial in convincing players to stay at Penn State, even when given the option to leave without penalty.
“All those players, not only the players, but all the people up there really put their hope in this guy, and it’s going to come crashing down again,” Jones said of the situation at Penn State of O’Brien leaves. “And it’s going to make everyone a little more cynical, a little more disillusioned, and it ain’t going to help anybody that’s for certain. It’s going to decimate the program, because you’ve got a really, pretty good recruiting class going, especially considering the sanctions and signing day is the first week of February.”