Update, June 17: Russell said he shared a car with his brother, not that his brother drove him around campus, as we said below--Eds.
Redskins safety Anderson Russell doesn’t agree with the criticism his former Ohio State teammate, Terrelle Pryor, and coach, Jim Tressel, have received over the last serveral months for wrongdoing in Columbus.
Russell spent two years with Pryor and four years playing for Tressel before he signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent a year ago. In his opinion, too few people have been held responsible for the activities that forced Tressel to resign and resulted in Pryor’s suspension and decision not to return to Ohio State.
Pryor announced earlier this month that he would not return to the Buckeyes for his senior year. He had been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for accepting cash and discounted tattoos from a Columbus tattoo-parlor owner.
An NCAA investigation led to the forced resignation of Tressel on May 30. Tressel has admitted he knew his players were taking improper benefits but covered it up for more than nine months before Ohio State officials discovered that.
“I’m not saying that it’s not anybody’s fault in particular, but I don’t think all of it should have come down on coach Tressel,” Russell said. “It’s the people offering the improper benefits in the first place. That shouldn’t be happening. And the kids should know that they’re not supposed to accept them. And then on top of that, the NCAA needs to be more explicit about what specifically is and is not an improper benefit.”
Russell said he was fortunate to have an academic scholarship and steered clear of NCAA violations. He didn’t own a car, because his brother, who also went to OSU, drove him around campus. His former teammate, however, is trying to explain several car notes.
“It’s hard for a young kid being thrown in the spotlight like that right out of high school, but he’s been in college for three years now,” Russell said. “I’m sure he’s used to it. He’s been the face of our team ever since he got there. He was a good kid. He just made some bad decisions. Nobody’s perfect.”