Columbus, Ohio, attorney Larry James made the comments Thursday morning while appearing on SiriusXM's "Jason & The GM" show on satellite radio. Thomas described himself as a local figure who had worked with Ohio State in the past and knew AD Gene Smith, president Gordon Gee and former coach Jim Tressel.
"It was probably good for Terrelle to meet persons like myself, African-American lawyers, very successful -- quote, unquote," James said.
James said he did not know that meeting would lead to his representation of the troubled former star. He went on to say that "most" of Pryor's wrongdoing is limited to the selling of memorabilia "when he was a freshman, 18 or 19 years old at the time".
Ohio State's problems seemed to escalate Tuesday when ESPN.com reported that Pryor had made $20,000-$40,000 selling memorabilia with the help of a local freelance photographer, Dennis Talbott. Talbott has denied the allegations.
"I know Dennis Talbott," James said. "I don't mean to belittle Dennis Talbott but Dennis Talbott is not a deep-pockets player. This is out of his league. He does not have this kind of cash. He is not one of those dealers that one would say D has the ability to neg-buying and selling of memorabilia. Dennis was a part-time photographer who knew a lot of players. He was known around town. He is harmless. He definitely did not have that kind of wherewithal to do that kind of stuff and that story is just bogus."
The subsequent "Outside the Lines" report on ESPN, James said, "is close to being reckless and malice and over the line. This is something that Terrelle at the appropriate time may look at once he gets in the position to have the wherewithal to bring that lawsuit."
An unidentified former friend accused Pryor of taking the money in the ESPN reports.
James then went into detail describing Pryor's car situation that has come under scrutiny. With the NCAA curious about that situation, Pryor seemed to brashly drive to a team meeting Monday in a Nissan 350Z with temporary tags.
James explained that Pryor came to Columbus with a Hyundai Sonata purchased by his mother, Thomasina, when he was a senior in Jeanette, Pa. James said that after about a year, "that car practically dies," and Pryor's mother paid $11,000 for a Dodge Charger, again in Jeanette.
Over the next three years, the Charger was serviced "three or four" times requiring the use of a loaner car. At some point the Charger was traded in for the 350Z. The cars had the same approximate monthly payments, $298, according to James.
Six Ohio State players were cited by the NCAA in December for trading memorabilia for tattoos and other benefits late last year. Pryor was among those suspended for the first five games of 2011. However, Sports Illustrated last week quoted a source who witnessed nine other current players swap memorabilia or autographs for tattoos or money.
He then added of the nine new names published in SI, "They will be cleared. They will be cleared."
As for leaving the team when Pryor did, James said there is "division -- as you all know -- in the lockerroom among a lot folks."
"Terrelle looked at a situation where it was a hornet's test to try to continue to play football at Ohio State whether he was cleared or not."
He did not elaborate on that subject nor on the assertion that Pryor has had some "proposals" emailed from the Canadian Football League. James said he probably wouldn't negotiate any professional contract that Pryor would consider. There was no anger from Pryor, he said, after leaving the university.
"Irrespective of how harsh and idiotic we think some of the NCAA rules are, they are still on the books," James said. "They had slavery for all those years. Those rules are still on the books, and the courts uphold them."James then ranted about the NCAA and its enforcement process.
"You've got a captured system here in college football. It's mandated, dictated, the student-athletes have no rights. They have no relief. It's an archaic, draconian process by which you are basically financed for about 9 1/2 months of your school year and then you're to find the money for whatever else is left. You live in basically poverty throughout that period and you're making a million dollars for institutions."
James said he was not aware of any NCAA violations by Pryor, "over the last couple of years that we have uncovered."
James was questioned by hosts Jason Horowitz, a CBSSports.com contributor, and Steve Phillips, the Mets' former GM.