Former Ohio State University quarterback Terrelle Pryor spoke publicly for the first time since his college football career ended with news of him taking improper benefits (cash and paid-for items) during his tenure at OSU.
According to the Associated Press, Pryor held a short news conference on June 14 in Miami, Fla. to apologize to Ohio State, his teammates, and former Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel, who was recently fired for attempting to cover up the fact that he knew his players were taking improper benefits throughout the last nine months.
“I say sorry to all the Buckeye nation and all the Buckeye fans across the country,” Pryor said during the press conference. “I never meant to hurt anybody directly or indirectly with my conduct off the field and I am truly sorry.”
It was first discovered that Pryor and other Buckeye players were taking improper benefits back in January; his punishment was to be a suspension by both OSU and the NCAA for the first five games of 2011 fall season, but once news broke that Tressel was aware of his players’ misconduct and never spoke up, he was soon after forced to resign.
“In terms of coach Jim Tressel, a special shoutout,” said Pryor, who has now hired an agent with intentions of entering the NFL supplementary draft. “I’m sorry for what all went down and I apologize with all my heart. I love you just like a father. You taught me a lot and I apologize for putting you in a situation and taking you out of a job and place that you loved to be. I regret the fact that you’re not there anymore and I regret the fact that I’m not there anymore.”
According to AP, the NCAA plans to continue investigating Ohio State’s athletics program, particularly the football team, to explore if other athletes were receiving benefits. AP reports an anonymous source claims Pryor earned $40,000 annually by simply signing autographs. The NCAA may request that Pryor continue to cooperate with the investigation, but his attorney, Larry Sanders, told AP last week that his client is more focused on his future plans of joining the NFL. Pryor’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said the same thing at the news conference.
“Terrelle Pryor will be a great — not a good quarterback — a great quarterback in the National Football League,” Rosenhaus said. “He is going to be a star. This experience that he has gone through will galvanize him and make him a better person, a stronger person.”