Joe Paterno sent scores of players and coaches to the NFL during his 46 years at the head of Penn State's football program, and across the league on Wednesday many of them reacted with shock and sadness to the developing news of Paterno's firing amid allegations of sexual abuse by one of his former assistant coaches.
Former Penn State lineman and Arizona Cardinals starting left tackle Levi Brown said Paterno's legacy seems ruined by the circumstances surrounding the coach's departure.
"I think it's hard not to ruin his legacy ..." Brown said after Arizona practiced on Wednesday. "This is going to be the last thing everybody remembers."
Brown, Arizona's first-round draft pick in 2007, says he was shocked when he first heard of the charges against longtime Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "Sandusky might have been the fifth or sixth guy I met when I got to Penn State, and to hear that he was capable of something like that, I would never believe it."
Chicago Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams, who played at Penn State when Sandusky was the defensive coordinator, called the scandal "a complete shocker."
"When I was there, Coach Paterno was a great man. Coach Sandusky, you know, the same," Adams said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "First-class organization. Nobody joked about (Sandusky) or had anything negative to say about Coach Sandusky and 'The Second Mile' program (founded by Sandusky for disadvantaged youngsters). Everything there was first class."
"It's a sad day to be a Penn Stater," Robinson said.
Later, Robinson said the actions of others shouldn't ruin Paterno's legacy.
"It's just sad how some sick people can tarnish a great man like that," Robinson said.
Robinson played for Penn State between 2002-05.
"I want to express my deep sorrow for the children that are involved," Robinson said. "I have three kids myself and I can't imagine what those families are going through today."
"Well, you know, obviously I've certainly been in prayer for the young people that are involved in this, young men as they are now," Caldwell said. "I certainly feel for them. I don't know a whole lot about all of the details, to be honest with you. I haven't read through all the transcripts and things of that nature. I certainly wouldn't comment on that any further."
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny, an All-American for Penn State in 2005 and 2006, addressed the issue before a large contingent of reporters Wednesday, according to the Florida Time-Union.
"We had the opportunity to be right, to solve a problem, to fix something, and we didn't," Posluszny said. "And that hurt."
Asked when he'll feel comfortable wearing Penn State gear again, Posluszny said he didn't know. "This situation is just an unbelievable black eye for the program and it's going to be tough because whenever anybody says Penn State or you see Penn State, sexual assault of young kids is what's going to come to mind, and that's such an unfortunate thing."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.