CHICAGO -- It's beginning to look like Penn State coach Joe Paterno is back on the five-year plan.
Throughout the last two decades, the coach became well known for saying he intended to work another four or five years before he retired. This began in the 1980s. And, of course, he never left the job.
But when health problems impacted major college football's all-time wins leader before and during the 2010 season, it appeared an actual retirement was imminent.
At Big Ten Media Days here Thursday, though, a re-invigorated Paterno said he has no intent of walking away any time soon.
Right now I'm looking at four or five years, the 84-year-old said. That may be optimistic, I don't know.
At this event in 2010, Paterno looked and sounded sluggish, something that at the time he attributed to digestive issues. Thursday, he admitted the health woes a year ago more likely stemmed from a string of injuries and illnesses he dealt with in recent years, including a broken leg and hip-replacement surgery.
I was having some issues because I had so many bang-bang (health) problems, he said.
But now he insists he's over the physical issues. He reported that he is back to walking 30-35 miles per week to stay in shape. In the main press conference and then a breakout session afterward Thursday, he joked with reporters and poked fun at himself.
Yet he was completely serious when talking about coaching well into the future.
I want to coach as long as I feel I can do a good job, Paterno said. There comes a time when I don't feel like getting out on the field and maybe I can't run around and demonstrate
But I feel great, he added. I really enjoyed the spring, running around a little more than I've done, demonstrating a little bit. I'd like to be involved in it. As long as I can stay involved, I'd like to coach.