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Terrelle Pryor says he’s sorry to Ohio State for ‘conduct off the field’

Reporting from Miami Beach — The circus came to South Beach on Tuesday and, when it ended, those who saw it couldn’t remember seeing much of anything like it. In one ring was Terrelle Pryor, the former Ohio State quarterback who left the university amid scandal. In the next, Drew Rosenhaus, Pryor’s agent.

They called it a news conference and though there were reporters there, and cameras, it wasn’t really that. It was, in fact, more like a show — the cameras and the media starring as props. The scene: the luxurious Fontainebleau Hotel, a short jog from the ocean.

Rosenhaus made it clear from the beginning: His newest client, whose off-the-field conduct was so detrimental it helped lead to the forced resignation of Jim Tressel as coach of the Buckeyes, would be taking no questions. Pryor spoke for about 100 seconds. He used no notes but it still sounded scripted.

“In terms of Ohio State, I’d like to say sorry to the coaching staff, say sorry to my teammates, say sorry to all of Buckeye Nation and all the Buckeye fans across the country,” Pryor said. “I never meant to hurt anyone directly or indirectly with my conduct off the field and I am truly sorry.”

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He turned his attention to Tressel. Pryor accepted blame for his former coach’s demise.

Even then, the apology sounded strange. Pryor began it with what he called a “shout out.”

“In terms of Coach Jim Tressel — a special shout out,” he said. “I am sorry for what all went down and I apologize with all my heart.”

Pryor hadn’t spoken publicly since leading the Buckeyes to a victory against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4. The scandal that surfaced last December at Ohio State snowballed into one that cost Tressel his job and made clear that Pryor wouldn’t play another down of college football.

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In the beginning, Pryor’s off-the-field problems seemed relatively minor compared to what they eventually grew to become. He’d been caught trading signed memorabilia for tattoos, and he agreed to serve a five-game suspension at the start of the 2011 season.

But then came reports that he’d shared a cozy relationship with a Columbus, Ohio, car dealer. That he’d been seen regularly driving different new cars around campus. That he’d received $40,000 to sign memorabilia. Pryor addressed none of those things on Tuesday because no one could ask about them.

He only apologized for his past and said he was preparing to enter the NFL’s supplemental draft.

After Pryor’s statement, it was Rosenhaus’ turn. He spent much of the next six minutes promoting Pryor — sometimes to the point of hyperbole. Or past it.

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“The reason that I signed him as a player despite all of the prognostications and whatnot is I am a firm believer after 25 years of experience that Terrelle Pryor will be a great — not a good quarterback — a great quarterback in the National Football League,” Rosenhaus said.

He predicted that Pryor “will be a star” in the NFL.

“I expect him to be a first-round pick in the supplemental draft,” Rosenhaus said. “This league needs quarterbacks. Are you kidding me? Middle round, for this guy?”

abcarter@sunsentinel.com


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