For Terrelle Pryor, this can be either the end or a new beginning

All heck has broken loose in Columbus, Ohio and as expected the two biggest names connected to the football program — former coach Jim Tressel and quarterback Terrelle Pryor — are now gone.

I can’t say I didn’t expect Pryor to leave school, but it’s just sad that a kid with so much promise ends his college career like this.

I dare not compare Pryor to another Buckeye who also left under some pretty controversial terms: Maurice Clarett. The circumstances are similar but not identical: Clarett left school after being suspended for the 2003 season following allegations of extra benefits and academic misconduct; Pryor is leaving amid reports of widespread improper benefits in the football program.

Clarett didn’t handle the aftermath of his departure well at all, getting arrested multiple times and serving a prison sentence from 2006-10. I think Pryor is way more mature and mostly level-headed, so I think he may be okay.

Pryor did break NCAA rules, and because of that, some might object to calling him level-headed. But let’s be clear: Pryor’s main offense was selling his possessions — his possessions. Pryor also signed memorabilia in exchange for tattoos, which means he traded his name for a service. It’s hard for me to condemn him based off these two things.

I don’t know all of the details on the cars, but given what I do know, none of Pryor’s transgressions are crimes. Quite frankly I don’t understand why there are rules prohibiting college players from selling their belongings? I had a similar problem when Georgia’s A.J. Green was suspended for selling his jersey at market value.

So for what it’s worth, we all know Pryor never lived up to his college hype, wasn’t crowned the best player in the land, never won a national title, but I don’t think this will be the last we hear from this kid.

We all make mistakes. I just wrote about Ben Roethlisberger and how he seems to have learned from his mistakes while in league. In Pryor’s case, poor judgment has cost him his senior season, but it’s possible — and I am hoping that I’m right — he understands now that his actions on and off the field can have devastating impacts on his life, a feeling that he will never want to experience again. That may end up making him a better person and a better player.

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