Since Penn State running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider joined James Franklin in Happy Valley, he’s been a key part of the coaching staff.

He’s helped develop a number of backs for the Nittany Lions, but possibly most important: Journey Brown. Brown had become a star in the backfield under the tutelage of Seider.

But Brown had to make the tough decision to retire from football Wednesday due to a rare heart condition. It’s a decision that has definitely had an effect on the running backs room at Penn State.

Seider met with the media on Thursday. He was positive despite dealing with Brown’s retirement and the season-ending injury Noah Cain suffered. That leaves a lot on the shoulders of players such as Devyn Ford, who’s become a major cog in the Penn State offense.

Seider admitted there was a lot of coping and grieving going on with Brown’s announcement. Seider’s timeline at Penn State overlapped directly with Brown.

But amazingly enough, Brown has decided to stick with the program and help Seider guide the young Nittany Lion backs.

“That’s just who he is,” Seider said. “There’s been so much adversity and he never lets it break him.”

Besides helping players, Brown is looking at his future options. Seider said the first thing that Brown should focus on is getting his degree. Then, find what’s next. For now, Seider hopes Brown continues to stick around the program.

“That’s why I think football is more than just a game, especially when you go through the ups and downs with the guys in the locker room,” Seider said. “I think it starts there until we find out what’s next.”

On top of the Brown news, Cain’s injury is another devastating blow for a winless Penn State team. That’s made the running back situation quite a challenge as younger players step in.

“It’s just been tough,” Seider said. “It ain’t the NFL. We can’t go sign guys off the street. So we’ve got what we’ve got, and we’ll get better with them.”