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Oklahoma football: Former Sooner Tyrone Rodgers knows how Justin Brown feels

Tryone Rodgers transferred to Washington after turmoil hit the Sooners in the late ‘80s, much like new receiver Justin Brown left Penn State for OU.
By Stephanie Kuzydym Modified: August 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm •  Published: August 20, 2012

— A dark cloud hung over the program. The beloved coach was gone.

The NCAA dropped its hammer and punished the team.

A lot of the guys began to talk among themselves about what they would do, how it would be. They tried to console each other. Everyone was walking on eggshells — with the media and with each other.

It was 1989, and Oklahoma football was falling apart.

A shooting, then a rape in the athletic dorms, a robbery, drug dealing. All in six months. Some were charged. Others quit football. And in the wake of all the turmoil, a few, like defensive lineman Tyrone Rodgers, transferred.

Fast forward to 2012. There's a new dark cloud and this time it's enveloping a state school on the East Coast. Joe Paterno? Gone. Penn State football? Shattered. Wide receiver Justin Brown watched as his community, his school and his family were torn to shreds by fans, the media and the nation. The team continued. Little focus was on the season; most was on Jerry Sandusky, then the sanctions.

What did the future look like in Happy Valley? Nobody knew, but what they did know was there was an option for a new direction.

Brown's new direction was Oklahoma.

Last week, the new Sooner was all business with a calm, professional attitude as the media quizzed him on Penn State and transferring. Since he left State College, he's been called names and received death threats because in the midst of the haze, he chose a different path for his football career.


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