Terrelle Pryor

Hamstrung: Terrelle Pryor ‘doubtful’ in return to Ohio Stadium

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It appears Terrelle Pryor‘s on-field return to the place where he starred as a college football player will be an anti-climactic one.

The former Ohio State quarterback and current Cleveland Browns wide receiver suffered a hamstring injury during Tuesday’s practice.  With the Browns set to scrimmage at Ohio Stadium Friday, head coach Mike Pettine said it was doubtful Pryor would be able to play in it.

Back in July of 2011, OSU announced it had banned Pryor from the football program — including Ohio Stadium — for a period of five years.  The ban stemmed from Pryor’s role in “Tat-gate,” which led directly to sanctions on the football program as well as Jim Tressel‘s “resignation” as head coach two months before the ban was announced.

OSU officials confirmed in June that the ban would not preclude Pryor from returning home for the scrimmage.  The injury, though, has Pryor thinking of more important things as he attempts to make the NFL club’s roster as a receiver.

“I don’t look toward Friday,” Pryor said earlier this week. “I do want to go to The Shoe obviously and play, but that’s practice. I want to be out there for the preseason game, the second, third, fourth and the first game of the season. …

“I do want to be out there Friday, but it’s not as big as being in the game.”

Jim Tressel predicts Terrelle Pryor will drop first pass in Browns practice in Ohio Stadium

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Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is currently hard at work learning a new position in an attempt to land a roster spot with the Cleveland Browns. It is somewhat similar to the experience of Braxton Miller right now at Ohio State, although Miller is guaranteed a roster spot in the fall. The same is not true for Pryor in the NFL. On Saturday, Pryor’s former Ohio State coach, Jim Tressel, paid a visit to Browns training camp.

As it just so happens, the Browns will be holding a training camp practice inside Ohio Stadium this month, which means Pryor will take the field in Columbus for the first time since unceremoniously being suspended by the program and deciding to enter the NFL supplemental draft following the infamous tattoo-gate scandal of 2011. That scandal ultimately cost Tressel a job as head coach as well and led to a postseason ban for Ohio State, served by Urban Meyer in his first year on the job rather than in the 2011 season. Asked about Pryor’s upcoming Ohio Stadium homecoming, Tressel said it was going to be a cool moment for him, although he also served up a not-so-flattering prediction (in good humor).

“You know that’s got to be thrilling to him. He loved that place and has carried a burden with him that didn’t end the way he wanted to,” Tressel said. “He’ll probably drop three passes in a row.”

In related Browns-Buckeyes news, current Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones stopped by practice on Saturday, sporting his 12-gauge t-shirt. Jones was there to support his friend and former high school teammate Shane Wynn (a former Indiana Hoosier).

Terrelle Pryor permitted to play in Browns’ event at Ohio State

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Last month it was announced that the Cleveland Browns would conduct a preseason scrimmage at the football home of the Ohio State Buckeyes in August — one that’s a sell out, incidentally. Just yesterday, the NFL club announced they had acquired former OSU quarterback (turned wide receiver) Terrelle Pryor off waivers.

The convergence of those two events, thanks to the past, has created an interesting potential conundrum.

Back in July of 2011, OSU announced it had banned Pryor from the football program for a period of five years.  The ban stemmed from Pryor’s role in “Tat-gate,” which led directly to sanctions on the football program as well as Jim Tressel‘s “resignation” as head coach two months before the ban was announced.

Which brings us to the current issue at hand: as a member of the Browns, and with a year left on his ban, will Pryor be permitted to step foot in Ohio Stadium and play in the scrimmage?  According to OSU athletic director Gene Smith, that appears to be the case.  Probably.  Possibly.

“It is our understanding that there is no issue [with Pryor taking part with the Browns] but we are clarifying,” Smith told the Columbus Dispatch in a text message. “The intent we believe was [to keep him from] working out [in OSU facilities], not performing through a rental arrangement with an NFL team.”

Listen, if Tressel, whose actions in the case that brought sanctions on the program were substantially more shady and seedy and damaging than anything any of the players involved did, can be inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame, there’s no reason that Pryor can’t return to the campus to perform his job.  Not only that, there shouldn’t be any question that he should be permitted.

UPDATED 11:01 a.m. ET: And here you have it.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 3 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

(Writer’s note: I’m “playing” very severely under the weather this weekend, so I apologize in advance for any errors and/or typos you may come across.  Well any more than normal I should say.  Thanks in advance.)

THUMBS UP

Turn that Top Dozen upside down
Heading into Week 3, the schedule wasn’t looking too promising on paper.  Exiting it? To steal from the imitable Ron Burgandy, boy, that escalated quickly… I mean, that really got out of hand fast — especially in the Top 12 of the rankings. Two teams in that rarefied air lost outright — No. 6 Georgia, to South Carolina; No. 9 USC, to Boston College — while No. 12 UCLA barely escaped against a fair-to-middlin’ Texas team and looked unimpressive for a third straight game.  The first two will certainly tumble out of the Top 10, while the Bruins could slip a bit as well despite the win.  So, which teams will replace UGA and USC?  No. 11 Notre Dame is a mortal lock.  The second is murky as No. 12 is, of course, UCLA while No. 13 is one-loss Michigan State.  My guess would be No. 14 Ole Miss slides into the Top 10, just ahead of the Spartans.

Livin’ the hug life
Instead of another one of the bigger stories in Week 3 appearing above the cyber fold, how about we toss in a really cool example of sportsmanship*?  Yeah, didn’t think you’d mind.  UMass, 2-27 since early November of 2011, jumped out to a quick 14-o lead on Vanderbilt in Nashville and took a 31-20 lead into the fourth quarter.  Two Commodore touchdowns, however, gave them the lead with just over a minute to play.  The Minutemen would roar back, driving into position to kick a game-tying field goal and send the non-conference contest into overtime.  As time expired, though, UMass kicker Blake Lucas missed the chippy 22-yard attempt.  Then, this happened.

 

Yes, that would be Vandy defensive lineman Adam Butler giving Lucas a brief hug — and pat on the back — after the really bad miss.  Bravo, young man, for your short but welcome show of sportsmanship.

Loss puts UGA in SEC East driver’s seat?
If those in and around the Georgia football program aren’t nearly as upset and distraught over a divisional loss as you think they should be, don’t worry.  There’s a method to the apparent madness.  Yes, UGA was out-physicaled in its loss to South Carolina.  Yes, USC and UGA are now tied atop the SEC East at 1-1, with the former holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.  However, based on recent precedent, the Bulldogs have the rest of the division right where they want ’em.  You see, the last two times UGA has qualified for the SEC championship game as the East’s winner (2011 and 2012), the Bulldogs lost to the Gamecocks the first month of the season. Yep, the Dawgs have ’em right where they want ’em.

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No. 1 recruit Da’Shawn Hand picks Alabama

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The nation’s No. 1 recruit chose a new home Thursday, and it’s Tuscaloosa.

Woodbridge, Va., defensive end Da’Shawn Hand verbally committed to Alabama during a ceremony at his high school Thursday, going with the Crimson Tide over Florida and Michigan.

Hand said he received 94 total offers, the first of which came from Boston College when he was in ninth grade. During his recruitment, he was promised a meeting with Michael Jackson.

For Alabama, Hand adds to what Rivals ranks as the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class — and that was before he verbally committed to Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. He’s the second five-star recruit to commit to Alabama, joining West Monroe, La. offensive lineman Cameron Robinson.

“Why not go where it’s a great possibility that you can win a national championship,”Hand asked rhetorically. In light of that quote, perhaps it’s worth noting Michigan has slipped well out of the top 25 this year while Florida needs a miracle to become bowl eligible.

Hand is the next in an illustrious line of Rivals No. 1 recruits, joining Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, Terrelle Pryor and Jadeveon Clowney, among others.

Here’s Rivals recruiting expert Mike Farrell on how Hand got to this point: