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Larry Johnson won't return to Penn State on James Franklin's staff

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

Larry Johnson was the last holdover from Joe Paterno's staff at Penn State.  (USATSI)
Larry Johnson was the last holdover from Joe Paterno's staff at Penn State. (USATSI)

Larry Johnson, a member of the Penn State coaching staff since 1996, will not be a part of James Franklin's staff.

Johnson, 61, told PennLive.com on Monday night that he was offered an opportunity to continue with the Nittany Lions as defensive line coach.

"I want to say that I am very appreciative of all that went into my time at Penn State, all the players I've coached and all of the associations that I have," Johnson said via PennLive.com.

"But I've thought a lot about this, I've prayed about it and this is what I want to do. I wish Coach Franklin and Penn State the best but it's time for me. It's a very difficult time but I want to thank the fans, the players, and Penn State. I mean that."

Johnson was promoted to interim coach when Bill O'Brien left to accept a job with the Houston Texans and even interviewed for the full-time position. He indicated to ESPN.com that "getting promoted isn't the issue" with his departure, but all signs point to Johnson continuing his coaching career elsewhere.

Sports Illustrated and ESPN reported late Monday night that Johnson was close to finalizing a deal with Ohio State to replace Mike Vrabel, now with the Texans as well, as the Buckeyes' defensive line coach.

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