Terrelle Pryor to miss NFL shot in 2011?

Updated: July 29, 2011, 11:18 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Terrelle Pryor's pending application for a supplemental draft remains under review by the NFL and the primary determination likely will be made on whether the NCAA certifies he would not have been eligible for 2011 Ohio State games because of rules violations, sources have told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

But Pryor does have a unique case that should give him serious consideration for the supplemental draft because, according to his attorney, Larry James, Ohio State officials have agreed a completed investigation that occurred past the Jan. 15 underclassmen deadline determined he would not have been eligible for any games for the 2011 season.

Pryor's signing with an agent, Drew Rosenhaus, after the Jan. 15 NFL deadline for underclassmen to declare for the April draft is not considered a factor relating to his NCAA eligibility status under normal NFL protocol.

Rosenhaus, speaking Monday in a phone interview with ESPN's "Outside the Lines," said after "hounding the NFL on this matter," that he continues to await word on a clarification.

"They've indicated to me pretty consistently that they're not going to have an answer until there's a CBA in place," Rosenhaus said. "Well, now that we're on the verge of that being official, we do expect to hear from the NFL about Terrelle. The sooner the better because we've got to set up a workout for him. We've got to get him meeting the teams, we've got to have him taking physicals and whatnot."

Pryor Eligible players for a supplemental draft include those who have had unforeseen changes such as being banned from their college programs, made ineligible academically or having graduated before deciding to leave school, according to the NFL.

Originally, Pryor signed an agreement with the university and coach Jim Tressel that stated he would return for the 2011 season but would be required to miss the Buckeyes' first five games. That agreement reportedly allowed Pryor to play in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4 against Arkansas. Legally, it was a non-binding document so Pryor could have declared for the April draft before the Jan. 15 NFL deadline.

The confusion that ensued and further findings that questioned Pryor's eligibility for the entire 2011 Ohio State season likely will be clarified by the NCAA, allowing the NFL to make a decision in the near future.

If the NCAA presents a case that Pryor could have remained eligible for any portion of the season, his application could be denied by the NFL.

"We've got a lot of work to do and we know that training camps start as soon as Wednesday," Rosenhaus said. "So we hope to hear something ASAP from the NFL, and you know, obviously we're hopeful and we're confident that they will include him in the supplemental draft."

According to scenarios based a strict league policy laid out by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in an email to FoxSports.com, Pryor doesn't qualify.

In citing examples of players who were eligible for a supplemental draft, Aiello presented examples that, according to FoxSports.com, included "unforeseen" changes such as being banned from their college programs, made ineligible academically or players who had graduated before deciding to leave school.

"If there are no players eligible for a supplemental draft, there is no supplemental draft," Aiello said in the email. "It is for players whose circumstances have changed in an unforeseen way after the regular (college) draft. It is not a mechanism for simply bypassing the regular (draft)."

Because the NFL's supplemental draft is normally held 10 days before the start of training camps, it's uncertain how the lockout will affect the process. The league's owners and players have agreed to a 10-year agreement, and training camps start to open Wednesday.

Forty players have been selected in the NFL supplemental draft since its inception in 1977. Teams submit picks to the league and if their bid is the highest, they receive the player but lose the corresponding draft pick in the next draft.

Former Georgia tailback Caleb King said earlier this month, soon after being declared academically ineligible for the 2011 season, that he would also like to enter the supplemental draft.

In a news conference in June to announce he was leaving, Pryor apologized to the Buckeyes, to his former teammates and to the now-departed Tressel for his role in the pay-for-memorabilia scandal that led to the former coach's exit.

Pryor had already been suspended by Ohio State and the NCAA for the first five games of what would have been his senior season this fall for accepting improper benefits, such as cash and discounted tattoos. The scandal led to Tressel's forced resignation. Tressel acknowledged knowing his players were taking improper benefits but covered it up for more than nine months before Ohio State officials discovered his knowledge.

Pryor is Ohio State's all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks, with 2,164 yards. He also threw 57 touchdown passes, tying a school record.

The NCAA said in a letter to Ohio State last week that as a result of the governing body's investigation that it wouldn't recommend the school be hit with the most serious charges of failing to properly monitor its football program or any lack of institutional control when if faces the NCAA's committee on infractions on Aug. 12.

Information from ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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