STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The low sun hid behind a lower ceiling of gray clouds late Tuesday afternoon here as Michael Mauti — helmet on his head, pads over his shoulders and thighs — watched a trainer tape his hands, preparing for another practice in a career of practices. Nearly five years ago, he came here the son of one former Penn State player and the brother of another. He has since performed the duties and suffered the indignities of a linebacker. He has endured surgeries on both knees. And he is hardened.
The taped hands, the padded practices, the low clouds and the cold wind — that’s what he signed up for. Everything else? No. A thousand times, no.
“I came in here as a boy and I’m leaving here as a man,” Mauti said earlier this week, hat on backward as he sat on a couch at the Lasch Football Building. “This is as real as it gets as far as adversity goes in your life, and I think this is a great test. It was a great test.”