STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Bill O'Brien isn't sure whether the NCAA will grant injured tight end Matt Lehman a sixth year of eligibility, but it's something he said Lehman and Penn State are pursuing.
"Obviously, we're looking into it, and we'd love for that to work out for the guy," O'Brien said Tuesday afternoon. "If it doesn't work out, I really believe he has a chance to play at the next level. 6-foot-7, 260-pound guy. He's tough, he can catch. So, some way or another, I think he'll be playing football somewhere."
Lehman suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the season opener against Syracuse. He fell to the turf on a 10-yard out when he was breaking out of a cut on his left foot.
"As far as a sixth year goes, it's hard for me to comment on that because it's such a complicated deal what you have to basically prove to the NCAA," O'Brien said. "It has to do with personal background, injury background, transfer -- because he was at Shippensburg and then he came here -- and we'd be here all day if I was having to describe that to you."
Lehman can apply for a medical hardship waiver after the season. If it's granted, he would be one of six returning tight ends for the 2014 season.
The Pennsylvania native had one catch for 2 yards this year before suffering the injury. He finished fourth on the team last season with 24 receptions, with 21 coming during the conference season.
He currently has 298 career receiving yards and three touchdowns.
"It's tough," O'Brien added. "He was playing really well. Really well."