Representatives of Penn State coach Bill O'Brien have asked university officials to further reduce a contract buyout that had been lowered in June after a renegotiation of O'Brien's contract, ESPN reported Sunday.
ESPN cited a source who quoted a Penn State official as saying university officials were approached in an effort to discuss the buyout.
O'Brien's agent, Neil Cornrich, could not be reached for comment. A Penn State official said he had "no information" on the report.
For the second straight season, O'Brien, 44, is considered one of the hottest prospects for an NFL head coaching job. The Houston Texans are said to have made O'Brien their No. 1 target, and other teams could make a bid for him once the NFL regular season ends next week.
While there is no question O'Brien aspires to be an NFL head coach, he is reported to be torn about leaving Penn State at this time. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg had a terrific season, and NCAA sanctions regarding scholarships were eased in September.
O'Brien's contract had been renegotiated last spring, and the amended contract was publicly disclosed on June 20. In it, O'Brien's buyout was adjusted so that it would be lower if he left the Nittany Lions to take an NFL head coaching job and about the same if he accepted a job at another college.
The revised contract said O'Brien would have to pay a $6.7 million buyout if he took an NFL job and would be on the hook for about $11 million if he went to another college. Presumably, the buyout would be covered by his new employer.
Under the original five-year contract signed by O'Brien in January 2012, the buyout would have been more than $9 million.