"I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact," said Sandusky.
Sandusky's Penn State of denial was his first public statement since he was arrested 10 days ago on charges that he sexually abused as many as eight boys from 1994 through 2009, in a case that has shocked the nation.
The fallout has included the firing of Paterno, the winningest coach in major-college football history, the ouster of longtime Penn State President Graham Spanier, the indictment of two ranking university officials in a cover-up and a riot in the streets of State College involving as many as 4,000 students angry at Paterno's abrupt dismissal.
With the explosive case dominating national news for more than a week, Sandusky's team launched an all-out PR blitz last night.
Shortly before the Sandusky interview, his defense attorney, Joe Amendola, told CNN's Anderson Cooper that "Jerry Sandusky is a big, overgrown kid. He's a jock. The bottom line is jocks do that - they kid around, they horse around."
Amendola insisted that the young boy with whom Penn State assistant Mike McQueary saw Sandusky in the shower in 2002 was "messing around and having a good time" with the then-58-year-old ex-coach. A grand-jury report said the so-called good time that McQueary saw was actually Sandusky pinning the boy against the shower wall and anally raping him.
The very fact that Sandusky is out giving TV interviews, given the monstrous nature of the allegations against him, is sure to rub many people the wrong way.
"The only interview that he should be giving is to a counselor in prison," said state Rep. Mike Vereb, a Republican from Montgomery County who has protested Sandusky's bail terms. "Can you imagine the families sitting at home having to watch this animal?"
In the interview with Costas last night, Sandusky said that he never had any discussion with Paterno regarding his behavior with young boys. Paterno is under fire for not acting more aggressively when told by McQueary about Sandusky's alleged actions in the shower in 2002.
Like his attorney, Sandusky insisted there was nothing sexual in the episode that McQueary witnessed. "We were snapping a towel," he said. "I'm innocent of these charges," Sandusky said.
Costas asked Sandusky if he is sexually attracted to young boys.
"Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?" Sandusky responded. "Sexually attracted? I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."
"I feel horrible," Sandusky said about the uproar that has enveloped Penn State and damaged the school's reputation, but added: "I don't think that it's my fault. I obviously played a part in this."
Earlier, in what would have to be an understatement, Sandusky told Costas: "I don't think these have been the best days of my life."