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Penn State's Short to return for final season

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Posted: Saturday January 02, 1999 09:59 AM

  Short made eight tackles for the Nittany Lions in their Outback Bowl win over Kentucky Stephen Dunn/Allsport

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Penn State linebacker Brandon Short said Saturday that he will return for a fifth year, passing up the NFL for now.

Short spent the past month weighing whether to stay or leave the Nittany Lions and take the money his family needs. Short said he made the decision to stay a week ago as Penn State prepared for its 26-14 win over Kentucky in the Outback Bowl.

"Initially, when this whole thing started, I thought this was going to be the most difficult decision I ever had to make in my life," Short said Saturday before the team flew back home. "I thought I was choosing between my family, everybody who was in financial need, and the school and the team that I love.

"When I took a closer look, it wasn't that hard a decision at all,".

Short said that, because almost all of the players on the two-deep chart are returning, he thinks this team can win the national title in 1999. He wants to be a part of that.

"If I was sitting there watching them playing for a national championship," Short said, "and I was playing for the Bills or whatever, I don't know if I could rest. Knowing that I had the opportunity to achieve everything that I dreamed of and I passed on it because I was scared."

Short had plenty of reasons to leave: a 3-year-old daughter living in the same McKeesport project where he grew up, a grandmother recovering from a hospital stay and a brother in legal trouble.

According to information the Penn State staff gleaned from people in the NFL, Short might have been picked late in the first round, but he could have slipped as far as the third round.

"Most people felt that he'd be better off coming back," Coach Joe Paterno said. "But you know, every case is a little different. He's assumed a lot of responsibility for a young guy that most young people do not have. Obviously, from a selfish standpoint, I'm delighted he's coming back."

Short will graduate in the fall and plans to enroll in a graduate program in logistics.

He led Penn State this season with 85 tackles, including 15 tackles for losses. He had eight tackles in the Outback Bowl.

 
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