Penn State's Bill O'Brien doesn't affirmatively shoot down NFL rumors

Last Sunday, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that Penn State coach Bill O'Brien would be a hot name for NFL teams looking to fill coaching vacancies this offseason.

This created quite a stir, naturally, and O'Brien, the former Patriots offensive coordinator, was asked about returning in 2013 following PSU's 45-22 beatdown of Indiana on Saturday.

“You guys gave legs last week to a story that ... there's no story there," O'Brien said when asked by David Jones of the Patriot-News if he'd be back with the Nittany Lions next year. "Y'know, I'm focused on one game at a time. I'm focused on this football team. That's not something that I even think about. I think about that I'm the head football coach at Penn State. And I'm looking forward to getting this team ready for Wisconsin. I mean, we give legs to a story that's not even there."

That might kind-of, sort-of seem like a denial of the rumors, but, really, it's not. And Jones followed up by pointing out that he asked a "yes or no question" and O'Brien didn't answer it.

"It might be [a yes or no question] for you. For me, it's Wisconsin," O'Brien said. "And this football team and this senior class. That's where I think the questions should be directed: Indiana. The senior class. Getting ready for Wisconsin."

Annnnd there's another non-yes-or-no answer, yes? O'Brien is all business and a good guy and he doesn't seem like the type to leave anyone high and dry. But the Penn State situation is a train wreck, and as good a job as he's done with the Nittany Lions, you have to wonder if he doesn't look at the NFL and think about how much easier it might be to operate under non-restricted conditions.

Now, that being said, La Canfora never reported O'Brien was trying to leave. He only reported that Jacksonville loved O'Brien last year and the Jaguars (or some other team) might chase after him again this offseason.

By not absolutely affirming that he would return to Penn State in 2013, O'Brien is absolutely leaving the door open for further speculation about his possible departure.

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CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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