Beasley Reece reports

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Former Penn State lineman and Arizona Cardinals starting left tackle Levi Brown says that the legacy of Joe Paterno seems ruined by the circumstances surrounding the coach’s departure.

“I think it’s hard not to ruin his legacy, especially if he retires at the end of the season,” Brown said after Arizona practiced on Wednesday. “He’s retiring because of this situation and this is going to be the last thing everybody remembers.”

Brown, Arizona’s first-round draft pick in 2007, says he was shocked when he first heard of the charges against longtime Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “Sandusky might have been the fifth or sixth guy I met when I got to Penn State, and to hear that he was capable of something like that, I would never believe it.”

Brown said he believed those who committed crimes will be punished.

“I still think you need to let the law take its course,” he said. “I only hear what’s on TV so I’m not sure how everything transpired, who knew what and all that kind of stuff. I’m sure after the law takes its course, those who were involved will be punished for what they need to be punished for.”

When he talked about the alleged victims and their families, Brown was at a loss for words.

“I hope the families of those that were injured in this situation,” then he paused without finishing the sentence before finally continuing. “I don’t even know what to say. It’s just so bad.”

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno released the following statement Wednesday:

“I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees’ decision, but I have to accept it.

I have been incredibly blessed to spend my entire career working with people I love. I am grateful beyond words to all of the coaches, players and staff who have been a part of this program. And to all of our fans and supporters, my family and I will be forever in your debt.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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