Anthony Morelli is still chasing his dream of being a professional quarterback, to which I have only one thing to say:
That's an honest, sincere wish for the young man, not some sarcastic, mean-spirited wisecrack.
Mirror file photo
Anthony Morelli is still chasing a dream of playing in the NFL.
It's ridiculous and baffling that so many Penn State fans have nothing but disdain for Morelli, who worked out Wednesday during the Nittany Lions' Pro Day at Holuba Hall.
From the thousands of classless spectators who booed him when he returned to receive an award at the 2008 Blue-White Game, to countless anonymous message board trolls, many fans take great pleasure in showing just how much they dislike Morelli.
Did you know?
Quarterback Daryll Clark was among those who worked out for scouts Wednesday at Penn State's Pro Day. How many passes do you think a quarterback throws during such an event trying to impress scouts? About 40-50? More? Try 12, according to Clark. That seems like a very small sample, but it's apparently all a scout needs to see to evaluate a quarterback.
So the guy was an underachiever as a quarterback at PSU. Does that really warrant all the venom that's spewed by so many fans any time his name is mentioned?
Morelli never got arrested, like dozens of Nittany Lion players the past decade. He never publicly embarrassed the university or brought about lawsuits or criminal proceedings because of his actions.
His biggest faults are that he acted immaturely at times, wasn't a great leader and couldn't deliver in the clutch during the fourth quarter of big games.
OK, so he wasn't a great quarterback, not even a very good one. But he was better than average, compiling good statistics and leading the Lions to back-to-back 9-4 seasons and two bowl wins.
Those accomplishments, however, are clearly not enough for the Morelli haters who blame him for everything that went wrong with the team during his two years as a starter.
Oh, so it was Morelli's fault the defense blew that 17-point lead at Michigan State in 2007? And it was Morelli's fault that Joe Paterno refused to listen to his son, Jay, and give Daryll Clark more playing time that same year?
Go back and look at his career and you'll see Morelli was usually efficient at moving the offense between the 20-yard lines. He struggled badly at times in the red zone, but again, the coaches failed him and the team by not utilizing Clark's skills the way they eventually did in the 2007 Alamo Bowl.
The saddest aspect is many Penn State fans wish nothing but the worst for Morelli, hoping he never amounts to anything in pro football simply because they are disappointed in his college career. For anyone who harbors that kind of ill will, it's you, not Morelli, who is a loser.
Morelli said his wife, former PSU basketball player Adrienne Squire, encouraged him to "get back after it" in pursuit of a pro career. He was in camp with Green Bay and Buffalo last year after getting cut by Arizona two years ago.
"I'm only 24 years old. I'm young," Morelli told reporters after his workout Wednesday. "I've still got a lot left in the tank and just really love the game. There's just no quit in me. I'm going to keep going until I exhaust all options."
Morelli worked out for scouts at the NFL Combine last month and took advantage of an opportunity to do so again Wednesday at Penn State. He's willing to play anywhere or in any league, and it's admirable that he's trying to do everything he can to keep his dream alive.
"Any time you can get in front of NFL teams, it is what it is," Morelli said. "So I'm just going to go out and do my best and hope for the best."
Here's hoping for the best, too. No matter how disappointed some fans may have been during his college career, there's no reason to not cheer for Morelli now.
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.