Posted by Ryan Wilson
Terrelle Pryor has notified the NFL and the NFL Player's Association that he intends to appeal the five-game suspension handed down by commissioner Roger Goodell as part of the league's decision to allow Pryor to be eligible for the supplemental draft last month, the NFL Network's Albert Breer is reporting.
If nothing else, you have to appreciate the timing. On Friday, the Colts hired Jim Tressel, Pryor's coach at Ohio State before a scandal led to Pryor leaving school and Tressel resigning, as a game-day consultant. The problem: the move was made without the approval of the league office, and according to a PFT.com source, the league must give the OK before all hires become official.
Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar tweeted Sunday morning that it was a "Smart decision by Pryor and his people to appeal five-game suspension now. NFL has to address Tressel, change the [suspension], or REALLY look bad."
As we found out with the lockout, these things are as much about right and wrong as they are about winning the public relations battle. Then again, Goodell has shown in the past that he's willing to make unpopular decisions. Steelers backup quarterback and longtime Pryor mentor, Charlie Batch, recently told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Goodell has too much power.
"He took it to another level when he said he was going to suspend Terrelle Pryor for five games and he wasn't even in the NFL last year," he said. "How can you do that? It's not right. It's not right at all."
|Pryor's Journey to Oakland|
Players have also taken issue with Goodell arbitrarily meting out punishment, perhaps none more vocal in recent years than Batch's teammate, linebacker James Harrison. (More proof that there appears to be no method to Goodell's perceived madness: he didn't suspend Kenny Britt or Aqib Talib for serious and persistent offseason incidents.)
Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said on August 24 that Pryor would not appeal the suspension. Clearly, that has changed.
Now, in addition to the Tressel situation, the league will also have to deal with Pryor appealing his five-game suspension. As for the former, PFT's Mike Florio notes that it's not a question of if the NFL will allow Tressel to work for the Colts, but when.
"In Tressel’s case, the league faces a tricky decision," Florio wrote Saturday. "Notions of fairness and consistency require the league to treat Tressel, who resigned from Ohio State under duress after admitting that he failed to share with the NCAA information regarding activities that jeopardized the eligibility of Pryor and other players, the same way that it treated Pryor. By delaying Tressel’s entry to the NFL, the league would be bolstering the perception that overt favors are now being done for the curators of the free farm system.
"The question doesn’t become relevant until the Colts submit Tressel’s contract for approval by the league office. It hasn’t happened yet. Once it does, Tressel’s fate will be in the Commissioner’s hands."
The easiest way for the league to avoid the potential PR fallout? Punish both parties in a manner than most people would deem fair. History suggests that Goodell doesn't fully understand that dynamic. Or maybe he does and he doesn't care. Either way, the commissioner now has two more things on his to-do list with the start of the season less than a week away.
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