Penn State sophomore wide receiver Curtis Drake said Tuesday he did not make the trip with his team to Dallas for the TicketCity Bowl because he needed a break given all that his happened this season, the most recent event being his fight with Matt McGloin after practice on Dec. 17.
Drake, a West Catholic graduate who is spending the holidays at his Philadelphia home, said he spoke last week with interim head coach Tom Bradley and told him of his decision, and that Bradley agreed to it.
“There’s just been a bunch of things going on,” Drake said. “Everybody knows all about the stuff going on with Penn State and the program. Basically after the incident with me and Matt, I was tired. I just needed to step back and take a break. There was too much going on with everything.
“It was my decision. There wasn’t really one thing you could pinpoint, just a bunch of things, so I decided not to go.”
Prior to Tuesday’s opening day of practice in Dallas, Bradley said Drake and sophomore wide receiver Shawney Kersey stayed home for personal reasons, and that redshirt freshman quarterback Paul Jones and cornerback Derrick Thomas did not make the trip because of academics.
Drake broke his left leg in spring practice last March, the second time in seven months he had suffered the same injury. He was sidelined for the first three games of the regular season and played in eight games overall, including his final two as a quarterback in the Wildcat formation.
Given the injury, his struggles with former head coach Joe Paterno regarding academics, the storm of events following the indictment of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on child sex abuse charges and the fight with McGloin, Drake called it, “a long year with a lot of stuff going on.
“It was just up and down the whole time, definitely a crazy year,” he said.
Drake, who had not commented before Tuesday on the fight, said it was “something that got out of hand,” and that it re-ignited after Drake went up to McGloin in the locker room to “make sure everything was good.”
“He was still a little upset,” Drake said, “and I don’t know what happened from there.”
Drake said he and Bradley “have got a really good relationship” and that it was difficult to tell him he didn’t want to go to Dallas.
“He wanted me to go but I told him it was a decision I had to make for myself, and he was OK with it,” Drake said.
Drake added the decision not to go had nothing to do with academics, saying, “my grades are fine.” He also said he has no plans to transfer.
The loss of Drake leaves freshman Bill Belton (Winslow Township) as the only Penn State player who has taken snaps in the Wildcat. And, together with the absence of Kersey (Woodbury), it leaves the Lions thin at wide receiver.