Welcome to the big leagues! Former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor will be allowed in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft with one big caveat
On August 18th, the National Football League did the right and wrong thing to potential prospect QB Terrelle Pryor. The world’s most powerful league did find it in their heart to letOhioState’s wayward Buckeye into the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft, but at the same time showed their unilateral influence by instituting a precedent setting 5-game suspension to Pryor at the start of his NFL career.
The league in a dual statement announced that this year’s Supplemental Draft would be moved from its originally scheduled date of August 17th to Monday August 22nd and that indeed finally Pryor would be allowed to participate. The news was welcomed around NFL Universe that the former prep All-American turned public enemy number one inColumbus,Ohio would get his chance at redemption. But overwhelming their was a groundswell movement by fans and media that were saying, “What the hell is Roger Goodell and the NFL doing” by instituting a 5-game suspension –without pay by the way – for transgression that happened before Pryor has even signed a league contract.
For sure much like the cases of former NFL bad boys Pacman Jones and Micheal Vick the NFLPA was sure to get involved. But once again armed with a brand-newCBA, NFL Commissioner Roger “Hang’em High” Goodell was back. During the league’s 136-day lockout many wondered if the still existing NFL Personal Conduct policy with Goodell as the Judge and Jury would be back in full effect. Well it didn’t take long as the Commish once again made a player “beg” to step on the field before relenting with another of his controversial caveats.
The league informed teams that Pryor “made decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL draft.” Among those actions, the league said, were the hiring of an agent in violation of NCAA rules and a failure to cooperate with the investigation that cost then-Ohio State coach Jim Tressel his job. The NCAA committee on infractions is working to determine the school’s final penalties.
With no other “viable” alternatives other than the minor league CFL or UFL, Pryor like so many other players caught in Goodell’s player misconduct has to eat crow and accept the decision. “We accept that voluntarily,” Pryor’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus recently said. The loquacious agent added, “It’s a small price to pay for him to have a chance to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.” Many are saying that if Pryor had decided to fight the league’s suspension that there was a distinct possibility that he would have been ruled ineligible all together – see Maurice Clarett and Mike Williams circa the 2006 NFL Draft – a lengthy career-delaying court battle would have ensued.
In the end, as a family supporter I understand Pryor have to accept his medicine to support his family, but I don’t have to like it. The league can say that Goodell consulted NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith all they want, but how can the NFL just decide to retroactively apply a suspension based on “College” transgressions. What is next the league suspending Dolphins RB Reggie Bush for the mess that he caused atUSCor the many former University of Miami Hurricanes in the league that were just found out to be on the take in the Shapiro Scandal. League spokesman Greg Aiello even tweeted you can’t break the rules as Pryor did “and get a free pass into the NFL.”
As 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 NCAA’s mess involving a fallen quarterback”. 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. But now Pandora’s box has been opened and the league better hope the NCAA’s nex bad boy castoff is coming over clean – Hey BTW, I just heard that potential 2012 first overall pick Stanford QB Andrew Luck was caught cheating at hide-and-seek in the 3rd grade..I’m just saying.
Bills safety George Wilson, an NFLPA representative said of the situation, “I don’t understand, my question is, with thisMiamiprobe, are those players who took those gifts, are those guys — guys that violated NCAA regulations — are they subject to his discipline as well? Is it retroactive? This opens up a big can of worms”. Wilsonadded, “You can’t pick and choose when you want to apply, when you don’t want to apply, who you stick it to, who you don’t stick it to. It needs to be clearly defined. I don’t agree with it. But we have to see how he chooses to proceed as well as the union. It’s just setting a whole totally different precedent.”
Next Pryor will have a pro day for all 32 NFL teams Saturday inPittsburgh, where he’ll workout in drills similar to the NFL Scouting Combine. I know come Monday that some team is going to give him a chance to be the next “Brad Smith” or whomever in the NFL that Pryor will become. But this process to me, quite frankly stinks.
So now we move-on with Pryor even tweeting, “God bless and thanks for support! Time to have a little fun!” But to tell you the truth I don’t like it one bit.
Good luck Terrelle, as you already understand that being in NFL sometimes means you have to understand “who” is in charge.
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). You can reach Lloyd on Twitter @lloydvance_NFL