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NFL affirms Terrelle Pryor’s five-game suspension

Terrelle Pryor

Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor warms up before the preseason NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Friday, Sept. 2, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


The NFL has rejected the appeal of Raiders rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor, saying that Pryor will remain suspended for the first five games of the regular season for “improperly manipulating the NFL’s eligibility rules.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement saying Pryor attempted to sidestep the league’s rules on eligibility by purposely getting himself declared ineligible to play his senior season at Ohio State. The Raiders can add Pryor to their active roster following their game at Houston on October 9.

“Based on Mr. Pryor’s actions, I believe it is a fair conclusion that he intentionally took steps to ensure that he would be declared ineligible for further college play and would be able to enter the NFL via the Supplemental Draft,” Goodell said in the statement. “Taken as a whole, I found that this conduct was tantamount to a deliberate manipulation of our eligibility rules in a way that distorts the underlying principles and calls into question the integrity of those rules.”

Goodell said Pryor first decided he wanted to leave Ohio State and then took actions to make himself ineligible “to hasten the day when he could pursue a potentially lucrative professional career in the NFL.”

According to Goodell, the NFL has an interest in keeping players from circumventing the rules regarding applying for the supplemental draft, which takes place in the summer if any players have had their college eligibility status change since the deadline to declare for the regular draft.

“This smacks of a calculated effort to manipulate our eligibility rules in a way that undermines the integrity of, and public confidence in, those rules,” Goodell said. “Mr. Pryor made an affirmative decision to remain in college and play for Ohio State in 2011. He later reconsidered and decided that he wanted to enter the NFL. In order to do so, he needed to forfeit his remaining college eligibility and took steps to ensure that would happen. Based on the specific facts presented here, I conclude that Mr. Pryor’s actions warranted imposition of conditions on his entry into the NFL, namely, that he serve the same five-game suspension that he had previously agreed to while at Ohio State.”

The question of Pryor has now been settled, but questions remain about whether the NFL will also impose future suspensions that were originally handed down by the NCAA or college teams. It wouldn’t seem to be the NFL’s place to impose college suspensions, but that’s the path that this ruling seems to be heading down.