NFL upholds Terrelle Pryor's ban

Updated: September 30, 2011, 10:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The NFL upheld Terrelle Pryor's five-game suspension on Friday, a ruling that will trigger a non-injury grievance on Pryor's behalf by the NFL Players' Association, a union source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told Pryor of the decision on Friday afternoon.

"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 a news release. "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 heard the Oakland Raiders quarterback's appeal Sept. 15 during a hearing that lasted 80 minutes and included Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and a group of attorneys but did not include Pryor, a league source told Schefter then.

Pryor and Rosenhaus previously had said they would not oppose the penalty the NFL imposed as a condition of making him eligible for the supplemental draft.

"As we have done throughout this process, we will consult with Terrelle and support him in his decision" on what to do next, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said.

Members of the NFLPA executive committee had pushed for the union to appeal the suspension.

The Raiders drafted Pryor in the third round of the supplemental draft. He is behind both Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller on the Raiders' quarterback depth chart and does not count against the Raiders' roster while serving his suspension.

Meanwhile, the Raiders will be without cornerback Chris Johnson in Sunday's game against New England, a blow to a secondary that might also be without starting free safety Michael Huff.

Johnson injured his hamstring early in last week's win over the New York Jets and hasn't practiced this week. Coach Hue Jackson said Friday that neither Johnson nor wide receiver Louis Murphy would play against the Patriots.

Several other players are questionable, including Huff. The veteran safety suffered a concussion in the first half of the Jets game and has also been held out of practice.

Oakland was forced to scrap most of its man-to-man coverages when both players went down against New York and went to more zone calls.

Pryor may be activated by the Raiders after their game at Houston on Oct. 9.

Pryor opted to give up his final season with the Buckeyes soon after coach Jim Tressel was forced out of his job for failing to notify administrators about players -- including Pryor -- trading memorabilia for cash and tattoos at a Columbus, Ohio, tattoo parlor.

The quarterback originally was barred from entering the supplemental draft, then was approved by Goodell, with the proviso he must sit out five games.

Goodell said Pryor left Ohio State "in order to avoid the consequences of his conduct while in college -- conduct to which he had admitted and for which he had accepted a suspension -- and to hasten the day when he could pursue a potentially lucrative professional career in the NFL."

"In my judgment, allowing players to secure their own ineligibility for college play in order to avoid previously determined disciplinary consequences for admitted conduct reflects poorly not on college football -- which acted to discipline the transgressor -- but on the NFL, by making it into a sanctuary where a player cannot only avoid the consequences of his conduct, but be paid for doing so," Goodell said.

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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