Taking football coaching from him predictably and inevitably took the life out of Joe Paterno

Nothing is heavier than gloom in the air.

Gloom shrouds what once upon a time was Happy Valley.

Today it is Death Valley.

Joe Paterno is dead at 85.

We all knew that once they wrenched football coaching from him, Paterno was a dead man. He knew it, too. The ghost of Bear Bryant stalked him, shadowed him.

Granted, the medical people will tell you that it was the lung cancer that killed JoePa. Lung cancer was merely a hired assassin to finish the job.

Paterno lived in a singular dimension: He was Penn State’s football coach. As such, he accomplished grandiose things, on and off the field.

Once cut adrift from that dimension, it quickly drained his life force.

Without saying, the horrific child abuse sex scandal indelibly stained Paterno’s legacy.

Should he have done more with the whole Jerry Sandusky nightmare? Of course.

I do believe that looking through the prism of the single dimension that was his life, Paterno at the time thought he had done all he could under the circumstances.

I’m sure in recent months his regret knotted his insides, which couldn’t have helped in his fight against lung cancer.

The fall/passing of Joe Paterno, once a heralded iconic figure, is profoundly sad.

But it is not a tragedy. What happened to all those kids is the tragedy. And that shall not pass.

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