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McKenzie: Last few months an 'atrocity' for JoePa

KAREEM MCKENZIE Jets: Drafted in the third round,

KAREEM MCKENZIE
Jets: Drafted in the third round, McKenzie appeared in 56 games at right tackle between 2001-04.
Giants: McKenzie joined with Giants in 2005 and was a member of their Super Bowl XLII championship team.
Photo Credit: David Pokress

Kareem McKenzie is saddened by Joe Paterno's death and isn't particularly thrilled with the way things unfolded in the iconic coach's life over the past few months.

"It’s just terrible," the right tackle said this afternoon standing in front of his locker. "I think it’s an atrocity the way in which the last month or two months of his life, what he had to endure. As much as you hate to say it, there’s no such thing as fairness in life, but that’s not an ideal situation.

"But from what I’ve heard and from the people I’ve talked to, he had a peace about himself. So it is what it is."

McKenzie, who played at Penn State from 1998-2001, hated to see Paterno's life end how it did. Paterno was fired in November after the university's board members felt he didn't do enough to bring awareness to Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual misconduct with children.

Days after his dismissal, news broke that Paterno was battling lung cancer and the disease claimed his life Sunday at age 85.

"It was just a sad occurrence," McKenzie said, "to have someone go ahead and coach at an institution and be integral in the makeup of a tradition of a football program for 60-some odd years to go ahead and succumb to lung cancer and to have his career end the way it did is just terrible."

"I don’t think that it helped him to be fired from his job," he added. "I think it gave him a sense of peace, being able to go ahead and be around his family and focusing on that and not on the negative aspect of what he was goimg through." 

McKenzie wasn't able to get to University Park, Pa. over the last two days to pay his respects to Paterno during any of the memorial services. But he'll cherish his fond memories.

"I remember him as a great coach," McKenzie said, "one of those guys that even at 70-some odd years, he could still go out there and hit the back and he’ll take his glasses off and show you how to block."

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Just wanted to add these thoughts from Jimmy Kennedy, the other Penn State alum on the Giants:

"I’m heartbroken," he said. "We lost a legend. We lost someone who I love like a father. Tons of people can say that. It’s sad the way it went down and I’m still disheartened over it."

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