On the day some Ohio high school coaches will wear the trademark sweater vest in support of Jim Tressel, the former Ohio State coach offered his support to Terrelle Pryor, who began his first day of drills with the Oakland Raiders Friday.
Tressel, who has meandered among several NFL training camps the past month in the Midwest, said Friday he would always support Pryor, his former star quarterback.
"I think you always have to treat the young people under your care with love, and I will never change that," Tressel said during an appearance on "The Really Big Show" with Tony Rizzo on ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland. "That's always going to be the way it is for me."
Pryor gave up his final season with the Buckeyes after an investigation into the team's memorabilia-for-cash scandal that
cost Tressel his job. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell allowed Pryor to enter the supplemental draft, but levied a five-game suspension, the same number of games he was to have served had he remained in school.
The quarterback was taken by the Raiders in the third round of the supplemental draft, two days after he held his pro workout in Pittsburgh -- which Tressel attended.
Asked why he went, Tressel said he wanted to see how much Pryor had progressed.
"Just to see the improvement he made with that focus tells me that he has a chance," Tressel said. "I was pleasantly surprised that he was picked in the third round. I was ready for him to be picked closer to the fourth just simply because he was late to training camp and was going to need to serve a five-game suspension.
"He gets to have a new start. Just like I preach to the Ohio State fans to look forward and not backward, the same is true for Terrelle. He has to look forward and learn from his past but he can't dwell on his past."
Tressel resigned under pressure May 30 in the middle of a lengthy NCAA investigation of the Buckeyes' program. The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association suggested to its members in July that they might honor Tressel by mimicking his typical game attire in their season openers.
Some said they planned to do so; others see no reason to honor a coach who was pushed out of his job for breaking NCAA rules and covering up his knowledge that several of his players had accepting improper benefits.
During the radio interview, Tressel apologized to fans "for us getting derailed," but said he couldn't discuss why he decided to resign.
"Every time we get a chance to look back, we can see where we made decisions we would like to have back. Whether it's play calls or decisions within your own office," he said. "That's the human part of all of us. That's the human part of me. I'll end with this. The only thing I can do is look forward."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.