Penn State coach Joe Paterno looks on during football practice, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, in State College, Pa. Paterno, who preached success with honor for half a century but whose legend was shattered by a child sex abuse scandal, said that he would retire at the end of the season but he was fired hours after practice on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Rich Rosa always has tried to apply the lessons he learned as a football player and graduate assistant coach at Penn State University to his everyday life.

And they always served him well. The 1987 St. Joseph High School graduate now works as a sports agent for Eastern Athletic Services in Baltimore. His clients include Philadelphia Eagles defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole.

"I learned how to do things the quote, unquote, 'Penn State Way,' " Rosa said in a phone interview from his office Wednesday. "That means always being on time for meetings, looking the part, and most importantly treating people the way you would want to be treated.

Latest Video

"For the people in authority not to practice what they preached really disappoints me."

He was angry, disappointed and upset to hear that some of the people who taught him those lessons, including former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, did not live by the same rules.

Sandusky has been arrested and charged with 40 counts of child abuse stemming from his involvement with The Second Mile, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping troubled boys. Rosa, who played safety for the Nittany Lions from 1988-91, did some fundraising for The Second Mile through organizing charity golf tournaments up until about six years ago.

"Having played for Joe (Paterno, who was fired as head coach Wednesday) and Jerry and been a supporter of The Second Mile program, all I can say is I'm shocked," Rosa said. "I read the grand-jury transcript and it makes me sick to my stomach that so many people in a position of authority let this happen. How can they let something like that go on without doing something about it?"

Cedric Jeffries, an Egg Harbor Township graduate who played defensive back for Penn State from 2006-09, also reacted with shock.

"I wish he could have left on his own terms," he said. "He's a great guy, and he really loves everyone on the team. He's a father to everybody (on the team). He taught me a lot of life lessons."

Rosa and Jeffries were among at least eight local high school players to accept football scholarships to Penn State over the past 45 years, along with linebacker Greg Buttle (Mainland Regional High School), defensive tackle Bob Hladum (Holy Spirit), defensive back Damo•Troy (Middle Township), defensive back George Landis (Mainland), center Pete Marcyzk (Holy Spirit) and quarterback Doug Strang (Mainland).

Buttle was by far the most accomplished player in the group. The 57-year-old starred for the Nittany Lions from 1972-75, earning All-American status in 1975. He still holds the school records for tackles in a game (24) and season (165) and was the career leader with 343 until Paul Posluszny broke the mark in 2006.

Sandusky was Penn State's linebackers coach during Buttle's years at Penn State.

Buttle, who played nine seasons with the New York Jets and still works as a TV and radio analyst, politely declined to comment Wednesday, saying that he "just can't wrap (his) head around it right now" and wanted to wait until he had more information before talking about it.

None of the Eagles' current players went to Penn State, but the team just signed former Nittany Lions tight end Brett Bracket to its practice squad Tuesday.

"I didn't really know anything about any situation at all," Brackett said Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex. "All I knew about (Sandusky) was he was defensive coordinator. I had seen him around before, but other than that I didn't have much contact with him. I went about my business and he didn't really come across my path there.

"First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families and victims. This is something you can never imagine having to deal with. I don't know much of the details, but obviously it's sad."

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, who was an assistant under Paterno and Sandusky from 1990-96, also didn't want to talk about Sandusky.

Schiano said Paterno was a mentor to him.

"It's sad," Schiano said. "The whole thing is sad, though. The whole thing that's going on out there is sad. To start drawing lines on that, and this, is just ... it's really bad.

Rosa also expressed sympathy for the victims of the alleged abuse.

"The real losers in this are the victims because they have to live with what happened to them for the rest of their lives," he said. "If the allegations are true, the people who did these horrific acts will get what's coming to them."

Contact David Weinberg:



Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.