Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was declared eligible for Monday's NFL supplemental draft but must sit out the first five games after he signs a contract.
The NFL announced Thursday he was eligible, along with five other players. Pryor gave up his final season with the Buckeyes following an NCAA investigation into the football team's memorabilia-for-cash scandal. He would've had to sit out five games at Ohio State if he had chosen to return to school.
"God bless and thanks for support!" Pryor wrote on his Twitter page. "Time to have a little fun!!"
The league informed clubs that Pryor "made decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL draft." Among those, the league said, was his failure to cooperate with the NCAA and hiring of an agent in violation of NCAA rules. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted that you can't do that "and get a free pass into the NFL."
Pryor may not practice or play until Week 6 of the regular season.
"We accept that voluntarily," Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told The Associated Press. "It's a small price to pay for him to have a chance to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL."
David Cornwell, Pryor's attorney, said he was pleased that quarterback is eligible for the supplemental draft — which was his "primary objective" — although having to sit out five games was not the ideal situation.
"Given the range of options, the opportunity to be drafted is better than sitting out until next April," Cornwell said in an email to the AP. "But, obviously, this is not a perfect result."
Other players eligible for the supplemental draft are: defensive backs Torez Jones of Western Carolina and Tracy Wilson of Northern Illinois, defensive ends Keenan Mace of Lindenwood and Mike McAdoo of North Carolina and running back Caleb King of Georgia.
Rosenhaus said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith worked together on the decision. Pryor will have a pro day Saturday in Pittsburgh for all 32 NFL teams, and he'll work out, throw and take part in agility drills — similar to what he would do at the NFL combine.
"I think also he'll score a lot of points in terms of his personality and his maturity," Rosenhaus said. "Wherever he's drafted, we will sign and get a deal done and play ball this year, so we're looking forward to that."
Rosenhaus added that despite having to sit out five games, Pryor will benefit from being at the headquarters for whichever team drafts him and being able to take part in meetings.
"He's putting all of this behind him and he has learned a lot from the mistakes he has made in the past and is excited about starting fresh and getting his career going," Rosenhaus said. "As soon as he gets picked, he'll be on an airplane and be going right to work."
A star with the Buckeyes for three years, Pryor and several teammates were suspended for the first five games of this season for receiving improper benefits from a Columbus tattoo-parlor owner. The quarterback subsequently left school, hoping he'd be eligible for the supplemental draft.
The supplemental draft allows qualified underclassmen who did not request early entry into the regular draft to have a chance at entering the NFL.
The NFL informed all 32 teams last Thursday that the supplemental draft would be held this Wednesday, but then postponed that a few days later. Pryor was not on the NFL's initial list of players, but was included Thursday. In the supplemental draft, teams submit picks and are awarded players if their bid — for which round they would take that player — is highest. Teams then lose the corresponding pick in the following year's regular draft in April.
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