Terrelle Pryor will have an opportunity to pursue his NFL dreams, with one significant caveat: The former Ohio State star must still pay for breaking NCAA rules while he was in college.
The league announced Thursday that Pryor is eligible for its supplemental draft, but he won't be allowed to practice for the team that selects him until Week 6. Pryor gave up his final season with the Buckeyes following an investigation into the team's memorabilia-for-cash scandal.
He would've had to sit out five games had he chosen to return to Ohio State.
"We accept that voluntarily," Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told The Associated Press. "It's a small price to pay for him to have a chance to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL."
A small price that could have broader consequences.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith worked together on the decision, Rosenhaus said. The league hopes it will dissuade future college players who run afoul of the NCAA from trying to use the NFL as a way of escaping punishment. But it also creates this dilemma: Does the NFL have the authority to suspend a player who doesn't even work for the NFL yet?
"I know players are concerned about the message this sends," said Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, a member of the players' executive committee. "Granted, making this 'deal' was an individual decision made by a player with counsel from his agent and lawyer. They have every right to make whatever deal they want for his personal future. That being said, the general concern now is how far into Pandora's box this may go.
"This raises so many questions, and I think players are rightfully concerned."
The league informed clubs that Pryor "made decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL draft." Among those actions, the league said, were the hiring of an agent in violation of NCAA rules and a failure to cooperate with the investigation that cost Ohio State coach Jim Tressel his job.
Ex-NFL players sue
PHILADELPHIA -- Seven former players have sued the NFL in Philadelphia over the league's handling of concussion-related injuries, the first potential class-action lawsuit of its kind.
The players accuse the league of training players to hit with their heads, failing to properly treat them for concussions and trying to conceal for decades any links between football and brain injuries.
*Tom Brady looks to be in regular season form after tossing a pair of touchdown passes in the New England Patriots' 31-14 preseason win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
*Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick was intercepted three times during a miserable half against Pittsburgh's rejuvenated defense in the Steelers' 24-14 win.