Before training camps kick off, a number of players and some coaches will pay tribute to people who helped them make it to the NFL as part of the AFC South Blog’s summer series: “Early Influence.”
Kerry Collins, Titans quarterback
“I’ve got to credit Joe Paterno with that. I really started learning about football when I got to Penn State. All the things that Joe believes in and his values, those are things I will take with me for the rest of my life, beyond football.
“You’re never as good as you think you are when you win, you’re never as bad as you think you are when you lose. He was about keeping an even keel, never getting to high or too low, about the ability to bounce back, the ability to handle pressure situations. He made the practice environment pressure-filled for a quarterback. He was always on us because he knew what we were going to face.
“I would say if you could survive being a freshman quarterback at Penn State you’re going to be OK. Not only that, but the approach to things, fundamental football and an attitude that you are going to be a good leader.
“I’ve not had a conversation with him about what he’s meant to me, but I assume he knows from the likes of many articles like this. Many times, hopefully, I’ve said things. But it would probably be a good conversation for me to have with him.”