NBC News is reporting that former football coach Joe Paterno has reached out to a prominent Washington criminal defense lawyer to represent him in the Penn State sex abuse case.

J. Sedgwick Sollers, who once represented President George H.W. Bush in the Iran-Contra affair, was contacted by Paterno's advisers on Thursday.

However, a spokesman for Paterno says "no lawyer has been retained."

The longtime and iconic Penn State football coach was fired Wednesday night after, disclosures in a grand jury report that one of his assistants informed him in 2002 about an alleged incident of sexual abuse by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Paterno has not been charged with any crimes in the case.  He has been described as a cooperating witness in the case.  Two other university officials told by Paterno about the alleged incident were charged this week with perjury and failing to report Sandusky's conduct to legal authorities.

A source close to Paterno says in addition to the investigations by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, the former coach is concerned about the likelihood of civil lawsuits by Sandusky's alleged victims and their families.