By standing on the sideline, trying to work his shoulder out, knowing that should he stay in the game, he was heading back into the gauntlet.
So the last glimpse of Christian Hackenberg in a Nittany Lions’ uniform that Penn State fans got was the junior quarterback jogging into the bowels of EverBank Field, his arm gimpy and his team losing.
He thanked the trainers and the sports information directors too.
Because he didn’t have to thank anybody on Saturday.
With the fact that even through it all, with an injury, a game in doubt and a pro career ahead, he still wanted to come back out of the bowels of the stadium to play in his final game and give his team a chance to win a largely meaningless bowl game.
Most importantly, with the threat of never having the chance to play in a bowl game like the one on Saturday, and the threat of being lost in the annals of Penn State football history in one of the darkest times in the program, he still came to Happy Valley, showed up every Saturday and gave it his all.