NFL Should Let Terrelle Pryor in the Supplemental Draft by Lloyd Vance

The NFL is scheduled to hold it’s 2011 Supplemental Draft on August 17th.  And the league better wise-up by declaring former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor “eligible” for the event

The National Football League is scheduled to hold its annual supplemental draft on Wednesday August 17th and the biggest name surrounding the event, former Ohio State disgraced quarterback Terrelle Pryor, so far is not “eligible”.  Let’s go back to the beginning of the summer, Pryor along with several other Ohio State players were accused of being involved in a scandal that “rocked” Buckeye Nation. 

On December 23rd it was reported that players violated NCAA policy by among other things trading memorabilia for tattoos – initially received 5-game suspensions from the NCAA after crazily leading their team to Sugar Bowl victory.  In the aftermath of the initial findings further uncovering found several more wrongdoings by Pryor and his mates, which further exploded the situation.  In May 2011, former OSU head coach Jim Tressel – who surprise, surprise was found to have covered for his players — stepped down from his position.  Once the “sweatervest” stepped aside along with all of the Buckeyes’ 2010 wins being vacated, a dominoe-effect caused all attention and fans ire to immediately focus on Pryor. 

In his 39-game career at OSU that included starting some games as a freshman, Pryor compiled passing numbers of 477-783, 61%, 6177 yards, 57 TDs and 26 INTs with an additional 2164 yards and 17 TDs rushing.  But most importantly 3 consecutive wins over archrival Michigan.  However as the perceived leader and star quarterback of the team during this mucky period, the former BIG  TEN freshman of the year had the bull’s eye firmly on his back and there wasn’t much that he could do about it.

Smartly, rather than returning to Columbus, Ohio  and “serving” his 5-game suspension plus facing further humiliation including the NCAA waiting in the wings.  The former U.S high school player of the year decided “the heck” with that by giving up his senior year eligibility.  Everyone knew that five games was going to morph into a season-long ban by the NCAA, so Pryor made his first good move in a while by hiring megawatt agent Drew Rosenhaus. 

Also at the time the 21-year old quarterback declared himself eligible for the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft.  He even started working out in Florida with NFL players like New Patriots WR Chad Ochocinco and was planning a Pro Day in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pa not far from his hometown of Jeanette.

However all throughout the summer leading to the league’s Supplemental Draft period – usually mid-July – there was something skeptical about this year’s non-buzzworthy event.  Yes, we all knew that the NFL’s 136-Day lockout pushed the league’s calendar all over the place.  But conspicuously, NFL leaders and officials continually didn’t want to hear the name, “Terrelle Pryor”.  Every time some media person was asked about Pryor’s eligibility for the Supplemental Draft, there was always a let’s wait-and-see answer . 

Meanwhile everyone surrounding the NFL was back to “Getting Back to Football”, Pryor was in limbo.  All indications were that  the NFL was throwing the NCAA a bone by making an example out of the “non-humbled” Pryor.  Rosehaus even tweeted on August 9th that had yet to hear a decision from the league. 

Not surprisingly, when the NFL’s list of “eligible” players for their August 17th event was announced, Pryor’s name was nowhere to be found.  There was the name of former Georgia running Caleb King, but the league citing some obscure rules basically told Pryor to take a hike.  Apparently they were struggling to reconcile Pryor’s eligibility due to the way he exited from college. 

NFL sources cited rules in the bylaws that said “expiration of a player’s college football eligibility through withdrawal from school, dismissal or signing a professional contract in another football league” does not automatically qualify a player for the NFL. C’mon it was obvious to any person with a brain what the league was trying to do to the former high school star.  Everyone knows the NCAA is the NFL’s defacto minor league and they did not like the way Pryor was acting.

However recently Pryor did indeed receive news of his college “ineligibility” in the form of a letter from Ohio State.  The letter stated  “In light of that decision the university must declare you ineligible for intercollegiate competition because you failed to cooperate with the university in violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1 [which requires, among other things, cooperation and forthright, honest answers]. In addition, due to that failure to cooperate, the university must disassociate you from its athletic program for a period of five years.”

Now the ball is  in the NFL’s court as Pryor has obtained an ineligibility letter and August 17th will be here before we know it.  However everyone that I have talked to around the league is saying that there still seems to be the feeling that some people around the NFL want Pryor spend a year thinking about his decisions before allowing him to enter the draft.  To put it quite frankly, “The Kid is getting the Maurice Clarett/Mike Williams” treatment until the 2012 NFL Draft.  His options right now if the Supplemental Draft were to take place without him, seem to be the CFL or UFL, because Pryor has already eliminated his college eligibility by signing with an agent.

To be fair, I am not condoning the way Pryor and his teammates were given excessive “gifts” and patted on the back by some of their misguided boosters.  But you cannot tell me that these college kids were not enabled by Tressel and the overall hypocrisy that is the NCAA. 

Give me a break, the NFL has way too many other problems than to worry about cleaning up the NCAA’s mess involving a fallen quarterback — who some scouts are saying is not ready for the big leagues —  and whether he is sorry for “bartering” for tattoos.  Pryor like so many other supplemental draft eligible players of the past has made a mistake as a young college athlete and now wants to move-on to the NFL.

If you think I’m wrong, go re-read the history of players like Brian Bosworth and Cris Carter, who both left College Football under heavy dark clouds of suspicion and ridicule, yet they were made “eligible” for the supplemental draft and were selected.  Heck, Carter – even after a some early career off-the-field struggles – was able to build himself into a Hall of Famer in the opinion of many.    So please just let Pryor get his chance.

I don’t know if the former kid who I saw win a Pennsylvania State Title so many years ago will be a legitimate NFL quarterback, but what I do know is that he deserves a chance in the Supplemental Draft, just like Carter so many years ago.   To keep Pryor out of the NFL to help the NCAA save face or to not open a can of worms — little known rules — that the some league people don’t want, would be a travesty. 

In some last-minute efforts to get him into the Supplemental Draft, the Pryor camp is trying desperately to directly appeal his case to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  But we all know the National Football League is very slow to change and right now Terrelle Pryor is on the outside looking in.

***Update*** 

The NFL decided before Wednesday, August 17th to postpone their 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft until a later date….HMMM I wonder if Twitter Nation and everyone else made Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL think twice about “screwing” Terrell Pryor.  Now hopefully they will give him a “fair” shot to be the next Cris Carter or Brian Bosworth by letting him in the Supplemental Draft

 

 

Lloyd Vance is an NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).  Lloyd’s Twitter is @lloydvance_nfl

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2 Responses

  1. […] I stated in my last article on the Pryor / Supplemental Draft situation, “Give me a break, the NFL has way too many other problems than to worry about cleaning up the […]

  2. […] I stated in my last article on the Pryor / Supplemental Draft situation, “Give me a break, the NFL has way too many other problems than to worry about cleaning up the […]

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