STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Bill O'Brien took his family to Disneyworld on vacation but ended up on a very different kind of roller coaster.
After days of Internet-fueled speculation about whether he would bolt to the NFL, O'Brien stuck right where he started a year ago — Penn State.
O'Brien said Monday his love for coaching the Nittany Lions outweighed a desire to pursue opportunities to move to the pinnacle of his profession despite the promise of a big payday from the NFL. It was the first time he had spoken to reporters en masse since confirming last week he was staying at Penn State.
A year to the day after being first introduced in Happy Valley, O'Brien also asserted several times that he has not asked, nor received a raise, and that no one has approached him about a salary bump, either.
"If it was about money, more than likely I wouldn't be sitting here right now," he said. "It's about making sure that Penn State ... does everything we can do in our power to make sure this place is the best it can be for our student-athletes."
O'Brien was headed Monday to Nashville to be a keynote speaker at the American Football Coaches Association conference. But first he addressed the media at Beaver Stadium for the first time since the end of an 8-4 season, a smashing success considering the NCAA sanctions against the program for the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
He said Monday he had conversations with a few NFL teams who reached out about coaching vacancies last week while he was on vacation, but no job was ever offered.
O'Brien declined to name the interested teams. The Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles were among teams who spoke with him.
The former Patriots offensive coordinator, 43, noted that the NFL was the highest level he could achieve in his profession. The teams contacted him "out of respect of what we did this year," O'Brien said. "That's as far as it went ... At the end of the day, the most important decision that I made is the decision to be here at Penn State.
"I can't think of a better place to be."
His agent, Joe Linta, said last week that there would probably be discussions with the school about O'Brien's current contract. The initial five-year deal included a 5 percent raise each year, which would make O'Brien's total compensation this year more than $2.3 million.
Since then, a clause in O'Brien's contract triggered an extension for the length of NCAA sanctions. Penn State is under sanctions for four years, so O'Brien's contract now expires in 2020.
Acting athletic director Dave Joyner declined comment when asked Monday whether the school administration would be open to revisiting O'Brien's deal. "We're always trying to improve and always trying to make things better," Joyner said after the press conference.