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Players, fans get behind former PSU coach

| Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011

Joe Paterno received the gift of support on his 85th birthday on Wednesday. More than 340 of his former Penn State football players signed a letter to show support for Paterno, who is battling a treatable form of lung cancer and recovering from a broken pelvis.

Paterno was released from the hospital Sunday, and he is having good and bad days, two former Penn State players told the Tribune-Review early this week.

The letter tribute, which includes more than 340 signatures, was organized by former Penn State star running back Lydell Mitchell.

Paterno was fired Nov. 9 in his 46th season as Penn State's coach. His longtime former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, is set for a trial in January on 52 charges in a child sexual assault scandal that has rocked Penn State University. Paterno has not been indicted by the state's attorney general.

Also last night, about two dozen fans gathered outside Joe Paterno's home to wish the former Penn State coach a happy 85th birthday and sing a Christmas carol.

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