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The Baltimore Sun

Waiting game OK for JoePa

Penn State and Joe Paterno won't be talking about a new contract for the 81-year-old football coach until after the 2008 season, it was reported yesterday.

For most coaches, the notion of going into the final year of a contract without an extension (as Paterno will be doing) would be plenty uncomfortable.

Paterno couldn't care less.

Next season will be No. 43 for him as head coach in Happy Valley, and after a rough patch beginning in 2000 when the Nittany Lions had four losing seasons in five years, Paterno righted the ship and has gone 29-9 the past three seasons with three straight bowl game wins.

But here's the problem: Does Joe retire at a point when he believes he can still do the job, or does he wait until he shows he absolutely can't? The former can be an awfully difficult step, and the latter would be sad for everyone.

For Penn State and Paterno, the best immediate tack is probably the one reported yesterday - avoidance.

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