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Joe Brady to Panthers: Why LSU assistant is returning to NFL

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NEW ORLEANS, La. — The man moved through the ocean of purple and gold inside a dimly lit Irish pub, the LSU hoody hiding his face, his hands in his pockets, head down. All around him, Tigers fans slurped from beer mugs and cocktail glasses, oblivious that the hottest assistant in college football was in their midst a day before the SEC championship game against Georgia.

The murmurs slowly began. Is that Joe Brady? One recognized him and then another. I think that’s Joe Brady! He started having to pose for photos. Fans began screaming his name. Finally, Brady had to leave, darting through a parting sea of fans, all of them awed at brushing shoulders with such a celebrity. And then, as if a maestro were instructing them in unison, the LSU fans began to chant his name. “Joe Brady! Joe Brady! Joe Brady!” Clearly embarrassed, he scurried through the crowd and out into the downtown Atlanta streets.

Welcome to college football, Joe. Good luck finding this in the NFL.

The news Tuesday of Brady’s departure to the pro ranks is not shocking. Most around LSU expected him to leave for the NFL, either this year or next year. “He’s an NFL guy, and he didn’t really hide it,” says one insider at the school. And while Brady did agree to a new contract with the school for a big raise and new title—even signing a memorandum of agreement—no deal is guaranteed. As SI.com reported on Saturday, the contract allowed Brady the freedom to accept either a head coaching job in college for move to the NFL. He chose the latter.

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