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Trace McSorley Defends PSU's James Franklin Amid Lawsuit over Injured Players

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2019

Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley throws a pass against Kentucky during the first half of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Trace McSorley, who played college football at Penn State, took to Twitter on Wednesday to defend James Franklin after a former team doctor said the Nittany Lions coach pressured him to rush players back from injury in a lawsuit.

Trace McSorley @McSorley_IX

#WeAre @coachjfranklin https://t.co/YTPJhq33TW

"With everything being said about Coach Franklin and how he has handled injuries in the past, I feel obligated to share my experiences," McSorley wrote. "When I injured my knee against Iowa, I never once felt pressured to go back in the game by Coach Franklin. He continually checked on me and how I felt, even telling me not to push it. That message continued throughout the week, as we prepared for our next game."

McSorley then shared an experience from Penn State's Citrus Bowl appearance last year, when the quarterback injured his foot. The senior played despite the injury, nearly leading Penn State to a comeback win over Kentucky.

McSorley said he made the decision to re-enter the game for both of his injuries and never felt any pressure by the coaching staff.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley also defended Franklin, saying the coach was supportive during his 2015 ankle injury.

"I personally wanted to get back on the field as fast as I could," Barkley told NJ Advance Media's Matt Lombardo. "And play as fast as I could. James Franklin was awesome for me. I tried to force it and he just wouldn't allow me force it. I sat out the next two weeks and was able to come out and be healthy the rest of the season."

Dr. Scott A. Lynch sued Franklin and Penn State, among others, this week, saying he lost his positions on the medical staff after reporting to upper management that the coach was pressuring him to clear players. According to Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today, Lynch says "on multiple and repeated occasions, defendant James Franklin attempted to interfere with the plaintiff's autonomous authority to determine medical management and return-to-play decisions related to student-athletes."

Penn State and Franklin have denied the allegations. In a statement provided to Reyes, Penn State Heath said it plans to "vigorously defend our program." Lynch was removed from his positions in February.

"I think you guys all know (Monday) Penn State Health issued a statement rejecting Dr. Lynch's claims. We'll continue to defend our program and all its participants on this matter," Franklin told reporters. "As always, the health and well-being of our student-athletes is of the utmost importance to us."

Franklin is entering his sixth season as Penn State's head coach. He's compiled a 45–21 record.