Penn State Football: Profiling the Former Nittany Lions in The Paterno Lawsuit
The Paterno estate announced Wednesday its intention to sue the NCAA in an attempt to re-establish the once glistening reputations of Penn State University and former head coach Joe Paterno. While the lawsuit is backed by a collection of faculty members, former coaches and university trustees members it also has gathered the support of nine former Penn State football players.
Not all of the former players are household names. We've put together profiles of each of the nine players who are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Anthony Adams: A defensive tackle, Adams played for Penn State until 2003 when he was drafted by San Francisco in the second round. Adams played in the NFL for nine years before retiring in 2012.
"I don't know about all this stuff that's going on, but I know when I was there, [Joe] Paterno was a great man, Coach Sandusky the same, a first-class organization," said Adams in an interview with ESPN in November of 2011. Adams played one year for former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky before Sandusky retired.
Adams is now more popularly known for a video series he produced on YouTube about his life as a free agent.
Gerald Cadogan: Making his way to Penn State in 2004, Cadogan was a success at Penn State both on and off the field. As a left tackle Cadogan was selected honorable-mention All-Big Ten by the coaches and media three times. Cadogan also earned first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors, becoming Penn State's 36th such honoree under Joe Paterno. Cadogan double-majored in rehabilitation services and psychology with a 3.67 GPA.
Shamar Finney: One of the many linebackers to travel through Happy Valley, Finney was rated one of the nation's best prospects when he signed his National Letter of Intent in 1998. Finney played four years under Paterno during what was the worst stretch of losing seasons in modern program history. Finney was honored as an Academic All-Big Ten selection in 1999.
Justin Kurpeikis: As a defensive end, Kurpeikis played at Penn State until 2001 when he was signed as a free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kurpeikis finished his Penn State career with 172 tackles, 17 sacks and 43 stops for losses. He also twice earned Academic All-Big Ten honors and was a 2000 All-Big Ten Conference first-team choice. Kurpeikis would go on to play in the NFL for six seasons, retiring in 2007.
Richard Gardner: Like many would-be greats at Penn State, Gardner came to the program as a walk-on in 1999. Gardner would eventually start every game in his final two seasons in State College. He amassed 141 tackles, two fumble recoveries, 15 pass deflections and three interceptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Gardner was named a third-team All-American his senior year and honorable mention All-Big Ten his junior and senior seasons.
Gardner is likely most well known for an interception returned for a touchdown during a 2002 meeting with No. 7 ranked Nebraska at Beaver Stadium. Some fans who were there have called the moment "one of the loudest" ever making Gardner something of a folk legend.
Josh Gaines: Gaines redshirted his freshman season as a defensive end in 2004 playing behind Penn State great Tamba Hali in 2005. By the 2006 season, Gaines was active in the starting rotation and remained the starter for the rest of his career. In 2007 Gaines helped lead the defense to a No. 2 ranking in quarterback sacks and a No. 7 ranking in total defense. As a senior Gaines was named team captain, and finished his career at Penn State with 105 tackles, 8.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Gaines spent three years in the NFL.
Patrick Mauti: Mauti, the older brother of former Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti and son of former Nittany Lion Rich Mauti came to Penn State as a receiver. After a redshirt season in 2005 Mauti saw periodic playing time before making a much more significant impact his senior season on special teams and occasionally on offense.
Anwar Phillips: A two-year starter at cornerback, Phillips was an All-Big Ten selection at Penn State. In 2005 he helped the Nittany Lions lead the conference in pass efficiency defense. Phillips made 104 tackles and seven interceptions while at Penn State. He earned a Bachelor of Science in labor and industrial relations. In August of 2003 Phillips was acquitted on all charges related to a sexual assault case that led to his suspension from the university for two semesters.
Phillips had a short two-year stint in the NFL following his time at Penn State.
Michael Robinson: Having played several positions while at Penn State, Robinson made a name for himself at quarterback. In 2005 he led the Nittany Lions to a breakout season and triple-overtime victory over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. He was named Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Year by the league’s coaches and was a consensus second-team All-Big Ten choice.
Robinson was always on the Maxwell Award watch list and was a semi-finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation’s top passer. He completed 162 of 311 passes (52.1%) for 2,350 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Robinson finished fifth in Heisman voting following the 2005 season.
In 2006, Robinson was drafted in the fourth round by San Francisco where he took advantage of his large frame and converted to running back. Robinson was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 where he remains as a fullback and an active member of the offense. He has accumulated five touchdowns and just over 1,000 yards of offense to his name while in the NFL.