August 18, 2011
Good news this morning for exiled Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor: His petition for the NFL's supplemental draft, finally, has been accepted by the league. The draft, initially scheduled for Tuesday, will now be held next Monday, with Pryor's name on the board for any team interested in a raw talent with an emphasis on the "raw."
The only catch: Just as he would have been forced to sit out the first five games of the season as penance for violating NCAA rules if he'd remained at Ohio State, Pryor's going to be sitting for the first five games of the NFL season, too. From the Columbus Dispatch:
An NFL memo to its teams said that Pryor's "decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft. Those actions included failing to cooperate with the NCAA and hiring an agent in violation of NCAA rules, which resulted in Ohio State declaring him ineligible to continue playing college football.
"Pryor then applied to enter the NFL after the regular draft. Pryor had accepted at the end of the 2010 college football season a suspension for the first five games of the 2011 season for violating NCAA rules. Pryor will be ineligible to practice prior to or play in the first five games of the NFL regular season after he signs."
Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said his client will hold a pro day on Thursday to run the 40-yard dash (I'll be interested to hear the result), do agility drills and throw passes for league scouts.
Of course, if Pryor is picked on Monday, the prospect of playing at any point in 2011 is better than what he ultimately faced at Ohio State, where further accusations concerning his lucrative memorabilia racket and continued questions about his relationship with his hometown "mentor," Jeanette, Pa., businessman Ted Sarniak, forced him to withdraw from school before he could be declared ineligible for the entire season.
Before Pryor's departure from OSU, he reportedly provided bank records to the NCAA (later provided to the NFL, as well) showing he and his mother had been receiving cash and assistance with car payments from Sarniak, even after being explicitly instructed to stop accepting benefits from Sarniak upon his arrival in Columbus in 2008. When NCAA investigators came asking about the payments from Sarniak in June, Pryor decided to clam up and walk away rather than put the program in an even deeper hole than the one it was already in.
Whether he succeeded, time will tell: The NCAA is reportedly mulling additional charges — almost certainly involving Sarniak's alleged payments to Pryor — on top of the violations it outlined in April against Pryor, multiple memorabilia-selling teammates and then-head coach Jim Tressel for intentionally covering it all up. It may be a while still before those accusations come down from Indianapolis, if they come down.
In the meantime, I hope Pryor has an icepack handy to put on his wrist when he wakes up tomorrow morning.