SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.-- Former Penn State great Jimmy Kennedy stopped by practice on Wednesday to take in the Nittany Lions as they practiced under his Arizona sun.
It wasn't the first time the 2002 Big Ten Defensive lineman of the Year had connected with his former team though. In fact, he's a regular when it comes to the past communicating with the present.
"Yea all the time, I text with the every week," Kennedy said during practice. "Shaka Toney, Shareef Miller, just techniques and drills and so on."
But Kennedy also has a different set of skills he can bring to the table. He knows what it's like to see your national title dreams evaporate. More importantly, how that shattered hope can turn into a losing streak. In his case a loss to Minnesota in 1999 as the Nittany Lions sat No.2 in the nation.
From there it was a loss to Michigan and then Michigan State. A season of hope finishing just outside the Top 10.
"When I was there we ended up going into this game slide after we lost to Minnesota," Kennedy added. "So when I talked to those guys after they lost to Ohio State and then Michigan State, I was like "aight, now pick it up. Focus on the little things, fix the small things and so on and continue to grow. I didn't want them to have the skid that we had. So it's good to be able to share past experiences but like I said these guys are committed to winning and I love that about them."
For Kennedy the reunion with Penn State has been a bittersweet one, a reminder of the past and a look towards the future.
But as he walked back towards the 2017 edition of Penn State football, it was clear so many years later, he's just happy to be a part of it.
And if nothing else...
"Arizona is great for the arthritis"