It's time to end the Robert Bolden Saga.

It's time for Penn State to grant the quarterback his release and allow him to freely transfer to another school.

It's time to cancel this six-month soap opera.

That's the only conclusion that can be drawn after Bolden told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette late last week that he's still not sure if he'll return to Happy Valley for his sophomore season.

It's been obvious since early January that Bolden no longer wants to be at Penn State. Almost immediately after Penn State's Outback Bowl loss to Florida on New Year's Day, Bolden and his father asked for a release to transfer to another school.

That request was denied by PSU head coach Joe Paterno. That meant if Bolden bolted from Penn State, he would have had to pay his own way while sitting out the next year at a Football Bowl Subdivision school.

Bolden, for obvious reasons, didn't want to do that and grudgingly decided to stay at Penn State through the spring. But even now, he remains uncommitted to the Nittany Lions for the long term.

Given his non-committal attitude, why would Paterno want Bolden to be his quarterback?

Yes, he's talented. But he certainly wasn't an overwhelming success in 2010.

Bolden, for those with a short memories, surprisingly started Penn State's first seven games last season as a true freshman. The results, predictably, were uneven. He finished the season completing 112 of 193 passes (58 percent) for 1,360 yards, with five touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He showed flashes of brilliance and moments of ineptitude.

Bolden, however, suffered a concussion on Oct. 23 against Minnesota, and fiery sophomore Matt McGloin, a former walk-on, started five of the final six games. He sparked Penn State to wins in four of its final six regular-season games and helped the Lions earn a bowl berth.

McGloin finished the season completing 118 of 215 passes (55 percent) for 1,548 yards, with 14 TD passes and nine interceptions. Of course, five of McGloin's interceptions came in the Outback Bowl loss. As he watched McGloin throw pick after pick vs. Florida, Bolden remain glued to the sideline and stewed.

Penn State head coach Joe Paterno later admitted that, with McGloin struggling mightily, he should have given Bolden a chance to play in the bowl. But he didn't and Bolden, understandably, was upset.

Bolden decided he wanted out. Paterno decided his quarterback situation was too uncertain to allow him to leave. Paterno asked Bolden to stay and challenged him to compete for the starting job.

Bolden appears to be unwilling to do that.

Maybe Bolden feels he's been treated unfairly at Penn State. If that's the case, his attitude is unlikely to change, and a disgruntled QB will likely be an ineffective QB.

Maybe he's afraid of the competition and wants the job handed to him on a silver platter. If that's the case, Bolden will never be a real winner.

In either case, it's hard to imagine Bolden's Penn State career ending well.

There's no denying that Bolden has physical ability -- definitely more physical ability than McGloin. He may well go to another school and be a major success, though there's certainly no guarantee of that.

But there's more to being a good QB than physical ability. There's leadership, decision-making and confidence. While McGloin's decision-making can be called into question, his leadership and confidence cannot.

Penn State can win with McGloin. He showed that last year, despite his Outback Bowl implosion. He may not lead the Lions to a national title, or even a Big Ten crown, but he could certainly lead them to another bowl game next year.

Even if it turns out that McGloin is not the long-term answer at QB, the Lions can turn to Paul Jones, another big, talented freshman QB who was redshirted last season.

And Kevin Newsome, who was expected to be last year's starter as a sophomore before struggling in the preseason, remains on the roster, although his Penn State future is also uncertain.

Here's the bottom line. The Lions do have options at quarterback, even if Bolden departs, and they can always recruit another QB.

At this point, it appears that Bolden's exit from Penn State would be in the best interest of all parties involved.

It's time to end the Robert Bolden Saga.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dis patch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com or at 854-1575, ext. 455.