Much has changed for Terrelle Pryor in the five-years since he was banned by the NCAA for his role in the Ohio State football tattoo scandal.
That ban expired recently and now Pryor can’t wait to return to Columbus where he plans to finish his degree in criminology, forensics and ballistics.
“I’m going to finish school,” Pryor, who is six credits away from graduating, said in an interview with 92.3 The Fan. “I want to get my degree and finish that. I need to be a role model for my son.”
Pryor said he’s always been fascinated with the science and investigative side of law enforcement, but before he thinks about analyzing crime scenes full time, another football season awaits.
“Right now my focus is here,” Pryor said. “I don’t even know if I’ll actually get into it [when my career is over] but I have to finish my degree.”
Since being unceremoniously dismissed from Ohio State, Pryor was drafted in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft by the Oakland Raiders, suspended 6 games by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the Ohio State situation, played in just 15 games with 9 starts in his first 3 seasons, sat out 2014 after being cut by Seattle at the end of camp, converted from quarterback to receiver, was signed and released by Cincinnati in 2015 before signing with the Browns, was released and then re-signed.
And here we are.
If there was anyone who could carry a massive chip on his shoulder and hold a grudge, it’s Pryor.
But he doesn’t even if the wound from what happened over five years ago hasn’t completely healed.
“What hurt was coming into the league, getting suspended which really held me back a lot,” Pryor said. “But what really hurt was all the energy and passion I gave to Ohio State fans and some of them – a lot of them reached out to me and said ‘it’s B.S. and that shouldn’t have happened’ – but a lot said that I ruined the program. I didn’t.
“You’ve got to look at circumstances. If your mother’s heat is off and you have to find ways to pay for stuff like that and your sister needs clothes, people don’t look too far into it or at the circumstances until they’re in that same situation. I just wish it happened a little different.”
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Pryor has chosen to use his experience, and even failures, to drive him on and off the field. He’s already given up his dream of being a starter at quarterback in the NFL to become a receiver so he can keep playing the game he’s loved since he was a young boy growing up on Cleveland’s east side.
Pryor has accepted responsibility for his role in the tattoo scandal that led to the ouster of Jim Tressel along with himself and four of his teammates.
Now he is now looking to help potential college students who are going through some of the same financial difficulties he did.
“I’m not only going to go back to the campus and be in the football facility but I want to raise money somehow and get a scholarship going,” Pryor said. “I’m going to try to make a scholarship fund where I give a scholarship every year to Ohio State. It’s something I want to do.
“They gave me a lot so I want to give back.”
Despite being forced from the football program in disgrace, Pryor’s love for Ohio State remains unchanged.
“I’m a Buckeye,” Pryor said. “I fell in love with being there. Awesome campus, awesome colors, we had an awesome coach in Jim Tressel and the fans were out of this world.”
Saturday afternoon Pryor will finally get to step on the field at Ohio Stadium as he continues to quest to make the Browns when the team hold’s its annual Orange and Brown scrimmage. Last year Pryor traveled to Columbus with the team but was a spectator due to a lingering hamstring injury.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Pryor said. “I can’t wait to see the fans.”
Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye.