Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) reacts to a defensive play as teammate safety Lamont Wade (38) looks on against the Michigan Wolverines during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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Franklin: LB Parsons could return to Penn State

All-American linebacker Micah Parsons is mulling a return to Penn State after opting out to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

That’s according to Nittany Lions coach James Franklin, who said on Fox Sports’ college football pregame show on Saturday that the door is open.

“We’re still having conversations with Micah. He’s been great. I think he’s excited about the opportunity,” Franklin said.

Parsons, projected as a top-10 pick in the 2021 draft, announced on social media on Aug. 6 that he didn’t want to risk contracting the coronavirus and spreading it to his 2-year-old son, Malcolm. That consideration, he said, “far outweighed my urge to play football this season.”

Parsons signed with an agent and would have to take steps to have his eligibility restored should he return for his junior season.

“There’s healthy dialogue going on,” Franklin said. “At the end of the day if it’s right for Micah and his family, then we want to show them the path to get it done here at Penn State.”

Parsons might have tipped his hand at having second thoughts about opting out. On Thursday, a day after Big Ten leaders voted to reinstate the fall football season, Parsons posted this on Twitter:

“At this age I never seen so many hard decisions I’ve been faced with!,” Parsons said.

From Harrisburg, Pa., Parsons was ranked as the No. 5 player overall in the Class of 2018 by the 247Sports composite.

In two seasons with the Nittany Lions, he played in 26 games and recorded 192 tackles, including 19 for loss, to go along with 6.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.

In 2019, Parsons was a consensus All-American. In the Cotton Bowl last December, in which Penn State beat Memphis 53-39, Parsons had 14 tackles, two sacks, three TFLs and two forced fumbles. That was his eighth game of the season with at least 10 tackles.

Parsons said last month that he had four classes remaining and was on track to graduate in December.

On Friday, Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman, another potential first-round pick, opted back in to the season. Coach P.J. Fleck said he had been cleared to return to practice but that he will still need a separate waiver to play. Bateman also signed with an agent.

–Field Level Media

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