Mauti injury shows again life isn’t fair
Penn State beat Indiana soundly in front of a disappointing crowd Saturday. The Lions looked generally good–some bad tackling, Zach Zwinak’s fumbling issues, a few other problems here and there–but, generally, still looked like an upper division team in the Big Ten.
Some records fell–Allen Robinson now holds the single-season record for receptions. Matt McGloin, the one-time walk-on, now holds the school marks for career touchdown passes, and completions and yards in a season. What a difference Bill O’Brien has made.
But the story of the day was that moment when, for the third time in five years, linebacker Michael Mauti went down clutching a knee. We’ve seen it before, and we hoped we’d never see it again, but we did.
Mauti got a stadium-wide standing ovation as he was carted off the field. Ninety thousand hearts aching for this guy who deserved so much better.
At the Joe Paterno memorial service, Mauti told the story of how he committed to Penn State in Paterno’s office, with his dad, former Nittany Lion and NFL player Rich Mauti, trying to pull in the reins, reminding his son he had promised to go home and talk it over with his mom and dad before making any decision.
Maybe Michael should have listened to his dad. Who knows whether the knee injuries would have happened somewhere else–maybe, maybe not. Certainly, Mauti’s career would not have ended at a school under sanctions with no bowl to showcase his talents for what looked like a very possible NFL career.
For Penn State, though, Mauti’s decision was a winner. Not only has he added another chapter to the legend of Linebacker U., his outspoken and eloquent leadership in the aftermath of Sandusky has made Nittany Nation Penn State Proud again. Penn Staters have been able to point to Mauti as the kind of player who comes to Penn State, why we were always, and still are, proud of our program.
Mauti and fellow second generation player Michael Zordich held this team together after the NCAA told players they could leave, and some did. They talked about what it meant to be a Penn State football player, and why they were staying.
Sadly, we have likely seen the last of Michael Mauti in a Penn State uniform.
But, let’s hope we haven’t seen the last of Michael Mauti talking about Penn State. I think Mauti might be a good candidate for the Board of Trustees. Seems like he understands what this university stands for, and maybe, what it means to average Pennsylvanians.
Maybe Mauti, whether he gets a shot at the NFL or not, could think about public service. Maybe he’s somebody who could stand up for what he thinks is right, and listen to the average folks who bring their issues and problems to him.
Whatever the capacity, I, for one, hope we see and hear more from Michael Mauti.