Even though he won’t play in the Rose Bowl, Penn State offensive lineman Brendan Mahon offered some good news to Nittany Lions fans: he plans to be back next season.
Mahon, who left Penn State’s win over Iowa on Nov. 5 with an unspecified injury, has not returned to the field since and was ruled out for Monday’s matchup with Southern California two weeks ago by head coach James Franklin.
A few days after exiting the game against the Hawkeyes, the junior was admitted to Hershey Medical Center, Penn State athletics confirmed to the Centre Daily Times at the time.
Mahon wouldn’t go into specifics on what happened in the Iowa game and, when asked, didn’t say when he’ll resume football activities.
“I can’t answer that,” Mahon said, “but yes, I will be playing (in 2017).”
Penn State offensive line coach Matt Limegrover didn’t say what exactly went wrong in the Iowa game, either, but could tell from the get-go that Mahon wouldn’t return.
“It was one of those deals where he wasn’t gonna be able to come back,” Limegrover said, “and you pretty much knew it right from the beginning.”
The week after the Iowa contest, Penn State traveled to Indiana, and in the Nittany Lion locker room over the exit door hung Mahon’s jersey as a tribute.
Looking back on it, the lineman appreciated the sentiment.
“It’s just one big family here,” Mahon said. “For them to do that, it meant a lot to me. They’re my brothers at the end of the day, and I know they’d do anything for me.”
After his release from the hospital, Mahon spoke to Limegrover about his future — and the coach gave him an honest assessment.
Limegrover said playing at the next level is a possibility for the versatile 6-foot-4 lineman, but it was on Mahon to decide that for himself.
“The thing I told Brendan is that it’s all there for you,” Limegrover said. “That is entirely up to him. I will give you everything you need from a mental and understanding standpoint. You’ve got to make sure you’re taking care of the physical and putting the work in, and he’s completely willing to do that.”
In the meantime, Mahon is in California supporting his teammates, providing an experienced ear to some of the younger offensive linemen and taking in the trip.
He was in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship, and wants a similar result in Pasadena.
“I was absolutely amazed to be out there with the team and celebrate the win,” Mahon said of the 38-31 victory over Wisconsin. “It was a big win, something that we’ve worked so hard for, and to be out here at the Rose Bowl, hopefully I’ll get to celebrate another win with my teammates.”