MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Terrelle Pryor ended his silence Tuesday — for exactly 97 seconds.
Speaking out for the first time since his college career at Ohio State ended embroiled in scandal, Pryor appeared with agent Drew Rosenhaus and gave a brief statement in which he apologized to the Buckeyes, to his former teammates and to now-departed coach Jim Tressel for his role in the mess that may take down one of America’s proudest programs.
“I say sorry to all the Buckeye nation and all the Buckeye fans across the country,” Pryor said. “I never meant to hurt anybody directly or indirectly with my conduct off the field and I am truly sorry.”
Pryor had already been suspended by Ohio State and the NCAA for the first five games of what would have been his senior season this fall for accepting improper benefits, such as cash and discounted tattoos. The scandal led to Tressel’s forced resignation. Tressel acknowledged knowing his players were taking improper benefits but covered it up for more than nine months before Ohio State officials discovered his knowledge.
Pryor is Ohio State’s all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks, with 2,164 yards. He also threw 57 touchdown passes, tying a school record.
“In terms of coach Jim Tressel, a special shoutout,” Pryor said. “I’m sorry for what all went down and I apologize with all my heart. I love you just like a father. You taught me a lot and I apologize for putting you in a situation and taking you out of a job and place that you loved to be. I regret the fact that you’re not there any more and I regret the fact that I’m not there any more.”
The NCAA continues investigating all aspects of Ohio State’s athletic program, particularly the football team.
Pryor may still be asked to cooperate with that investigation. However, his attorney Larry James said last week the quarterback feels no obligation to speak with NCAA investigators now that he is no longer enrolled at Ohio State.
Rosenhaus, who famously once kept repeating “Next question” at a news conference he hosted about client Terrell Owens, took the tact of “No questions” on Tuesday.
“I think I’ve said it all,” Rosenhaus said after he spoke for about six minutes in which, among other things, insisted he believes Pryor will be a first-round pick in this summer’s supplemental draft. “So I’d like to thank everybody for coming. Guys, we’re going to shut it down right now and I appreciate your time. Thank you.”
Reporters shouted questions and followed Rosenhaus, Pryor, other members of the entourage and some security toward the hotel elevators, to no avail.
As Rosenhaus was speaking during the event, Pryor mainly stared straight ahead, arms folded and resting on the table. He worked out Tuesday morning with a group including receiver Chad Ochocinco, who offered praise on Twitter.
“With the right coaching after what I saw today with my own eyes he can be a great QB,” Ochocinco wrote.
Pryor also said he wants to graduate from Ohio State, noting he’s nine credits short of his degree.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press