Terrelle Pryor: I was wrong

ByTerry Blount ESPN logo
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks quarterback Terrelle Pryor said Tuesday he was wrong when he broke NCAA rules while playing for Ohio State, but he supports the recent federal court decision giving college athletes the rights to sell their names and likenesses.

"I'm glad they did that," Pryor said on 710 ESPN Seattle. "The only thing I will say about that is when I was at Ohio State, all you see is red jerseys in the stands and you see a lot of No. 2s [Pryor's number at Ohio State]. I'll leave it at that."

In December 2010, at the end of his junior year, the NCAA ruled Pryor and four of his teammates would be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia.

Pryor ended up leaving Ohio State and was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the 2011 supplemental draft. He was traded to Seattle this April for a seventh-round draft choice.

"It was a rule, I broke it and I was wrong for that," Pryor said of his NCAA violations. "At the time, I was getting in trouble -- and I don't even call it being in trouble. I don't think helping my mother, who was in need, is being in trouble. I'll never regret that. The only thing I regret is hurting certain fans, teammates and coaches."

Former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, a key part of the Bruins' national championship team in 1995, sued the NCAA on antitrust grounds for selling his likeness after his college career ended. O'Bannon was joined by 19 other former college athletes in the lawsuit. The NCAA plans to appeal the decision.

"I was an athlete masquerading as a student," O'Bannon states in the lawsuit. "I was there strictly to play basketball. I did basically the minimum to make sure I kept my eligibility academically so I could continue to play."

Pryor said that type of arrangement is not unusual.

"I won't say any school names," Pryor said. "But the schools are telling you to take certain classes that you can pass so you can play. The problem with that is, if a guy like that gets hurt and now can't get that 500 grand or up to $5 million in an NFL contract, the guy hasn't learned a lot.

"He didn't learn to be a lawyer. He didn't learn to take the things he needed to move on, and now he has to go to school again. I see it going on an awful lot and I think it needs to be addressed."

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