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Belichick: No O'Brien at Patriots practice

Posted by Mike Whitmer, Globe Staff  January 5, 2012 11:45 AM

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Bill Belichick confirmed that offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will not be at Patriots' practice today, which would seem to support the multiple reports that say O'Brien is interviewing for the vacant head coaching position at Penn State.

"He will not be at practice today," Belichick said. Asked if there's anything else he can say about O'Brien's situation, Belichick shook his head no.

According to the reports, O'Brien is one of three NFL assistant coaches that Penn State has targeted as possible replacements for Joe Paterno. Packers quarterback coach Tom Clements will be interviewed later this week, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, while 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman interviewed last month.

O'Brien has been with the Patriots since 2007, and was given the offensive coordinator title prior to this season.

Belichick also commented on Marcus Cannon, who was named the team's Ed Block Award winner, which is voted on by teammates and goes to the player who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship, while also serving as a source of inspiration. Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, before last year's NFL Draft, and missed the Patriots' first nine games.

"Great selection," Belichick said. "Marcus has gone through a lot this year, he's certainly had to deal with a lot more than a normal rookie would have to deal with. He dealt with a lot very maturely and unselfishly, was always there for the team and doing what he could to help the team. And he's helped the team, in a lot of ways."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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