Share This Page

Penn State's Mauti mending and looking toward NFL

| Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Tribune-Review
Penn State senior linebacker Michael Mauti (left) sits on the bench next to running back Michael Zordich after he suffered a knee injury against Indiana at Beaver Stadium in University Park on Nov. 17, 2012. (Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review)

A knee injury may have clouded his NFL prospects, but outside linebacker Michael Mauti said he did not suffer a torn ACL when he went down in Penn State's next-to-last game on Nov. 17.

That is one reason why one of the most important figures in recent Penn State football history is confident he has a future in the NFL.

“I'll be back playing football, there's no doubt in my mind,” he said. “It's just a matter of getting the opportunity at the next level.”

Mauti's injury history is the one thing that may make teams wary of drafting him. He already had torn the ACL in each knee before he injured his left knee in the first half of Penn State's 45-22 win over Indiana.

Coach Bill O'Brien and Mauti had declined to talk about specifics of the injury, but the 6-foot-2, 232-pounder told the Tribune-Review he did not suffer a third ACL tear after getting cut blocked by an Indiana running back.

“I just had to get (the left knee) cleaned up a little bit, and I'll be good in a couple of months,” said Mauti, who already is rehabbing the knee and could be strong enough to work out for NFL teams in advance of the draft. “Just a little extra adversity. You've just got to bounce back, and I'm confident I will.”

Mauti is something of an authority when it comes to working through adversity.

He and other seniors helped keep Penn State together after the NCAA levied sanctions against the football program in July and allowed players to transfer without penalty.

Mauti's flinty stare and clenched jaw made him the face of Penn State resolve, and he did more than help prevent a mass exodus in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Mauti had an All-American caliber season — the fifth-year senior recorded 96 tackles and intercepted three passes — and his relentless play helped Penn State (8-4) exceed expectations.

There had been speculation Mauti might petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility due to medical hardship, but he said he never considered it.

“I've had my time, and it would be unfair to the younger guys for me to stay,” Mauti said. “It's just really time for me to move on with my career.”

The Louisiana native is expected to be invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February where teams will have the chance to interview Mauti and give him a physical.

“He'll be fine,” said Penn State running back Mike Zordich, who will train with Mauti in New Orleans. “Right now it's just taking care of the little things.”

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.