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Despite Outside Noise, Sean Clifford Has No Regrets At End Of Penn State Career

Sean Clifford knows a vocal group of Penn State football fans are ready to see something new at quarterback.

The veteran quarterback is now in his fourth year as the Nittany Lions’ starter and is facing unrelenting waves of criticism from a chunk of the fanbase. Thanks to pregame boos, “we want Drew” chants, and overwhelmingly toxic social media comments, Clifford’s no stranger to where he stands.

But, he also has three games left in his career in Happy Valley. He might take a stab at the NFL Draft. He might never play football again, opting to focus on his various off-the-field businesses and social endeavors.

Clifford knows his time to ride off into the sunset as the Nittany Lions’ all-time leading passer is coming soon. He’s at peace with leaving the school he “laid his guts on the line” for behind as a player.

“I love everything about Penn State and it’s going to be sad to leave,” Clifford said in the Beaver Stadium media room after the Maryland game. “But at the same time…myself and the Penn State community are definitely ready to see something new. I’m with them.”

Clifford’s quote elicited quite an array of smiles and laughs from the media members gathered around him. Everyone, including Clifford, knows the barrage of hate he’s received has been mostly uncalled for.

It doesn’t help that star freshman Drew Allar is due up next, anxiously waiting for his time to shine like a bucking horse in the stalls of the Kentucky Derby. The old football adage that the backup quarterback is the most popular player on the team is holding true.

The hate for Clifford came to a head following James Franklin’s analysis of the Ohio State loss, which seemingly placed the blame on the four turnovers — all of which were committed by QB1.

He’s completed a higher percentage of passes than his previous four years as a starter but is currently short of his career-high 148.5 passer rating in 2019. His seven interceptions through 10 games are far from perfect, and only five Big Ten passers have thrown more this year.

But despite his on-field inconsistencies, Clifford has no regrets.

“I don’t regret anything that has happened,” Clifford said. “Do I regret a throw? Yeah, for sure. A bunch of throws. Hundreds of throws… Did I have some bad days? Yeah, for sure. But at the same time, I know I’ve given this program everything I got.”

Clifford added that the hate directed at him from some fans doesn’t get to him.

“It’s fine because, for me, I’m just so content. I enjoy every day. I love being myself and being able to have the experiences that I do,” he added. “I can’t ever be mad about my situation.”

It seems like, at the end of Clifford’s career, he’s come to terms with his situation.

Penn State has two regular-season games left, neither against a team above .500. Then, it’s on to an unspecified bowl game that will feature an unspecified number of players opting out.

There’s no time for late-season heroics or a buzzer-beating, legacy-saving, game-winning drive. It’s time for Clifford to focus on going 1-0 three more times and then graduate, handing the program off to what likely will be Allar.

Clifford does, however, have one last landmark game on the schedule. And, no, it’s not because the Land-Grant Trophy is on the line. The season-finale game against Michigan State is Senior Day, and James Franklin has a message to the fanbase.

“I would love for that kid, not to get ahead of ourselves, but in our last game, Senior Day, I hope he gets the type of appreciation and recognition that he deserves,” the head coach said Tuesday.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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