Tressel's Mentoring of Pryor Still a Work in Progress?
By Brandon Castel
Jim Tressel doesn’t know when to quit, at least when it comes to helping players.
Tressel is no longer affiliated with Ohio State or Terrelle Pryor after resigning from his position as head coach last month, yet that hasn’t stopped him from staying in contact with his former star player.
Like Tressel, Pryor left the university in cloud of suspicion and controversy earlier this month, opting to forgo his senior season with the Buckeyes for a shot at the NFL’s supplemental draft.
In hopes of boosting his stock, which has taken a serious hit as of late, Pryor hired the NFL’s “agent to the stars” Drew Rosenhaus, but not without a little help from Tressel.
“When I was thinking of representing (Pryor), I spoke with Jim Tressel and I was very moved by what Jim Tressel had to say to me,” Rosenhaus said during a press conference for Pryor Tuesday in Miami.
“I don't know that I've ever heard a coach speak more fondly of a player than Jim Tressel spoke about Terrelle. He talked about him the same way that you would talk about a son.”
That might sound strange considering Pryor was one of the major factors that led to Tressel’s resignation at Ohio State. It was Pryor and teammate DeVier Posey’s involvement with Edward Rife, the owner of a local tattoo parlor, that first prompted Columbus attorney Chris Cicero to email Tressel last April.
Certainly Tressel was responsible for his own decision not to share that information with his superiors or the NCAA, but the signing of Terrelle Pryor will forever be linked to his downfall as the coach at Ohio State.
“In terms of coach Jim Tressel, a special shout out. 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,” Pryor said during his brief statement Tuesday.
“I apologize for putting you in a situation and taking you out of a job and a place that you loved to be. I regret the fact that you're not there anymore and I regret the fact that I'm not there anymore.”
There are some Ohio State fans who would prefer to see Tressel angry and bitter over the wrong that was done to him. After all, had Pryor and his teammates not accepted cash and tattoos in exchange for memorabilia Tressel would likely still be the head coach in Columbus.
But that’s not Jim Tressel. That’s not the man who preached about turning the other cheek and then actually did it.
After Maurice Clarett made every accusation in the book against Tressel and Ohio State back in 2004, he quickly became persona non grata in his home state of Ohio. The one problem was, he couldn’t leave.
The hero of Ohio State’s 2002 national championship season was sent to prison on robbery charges and it seemed like everyone in Columbus preferred that he never return. Everyone that is except Jim Tressel.
Despite the fact Clarett accused him and his brother Dick Tressel of numerous NCAA violations during his interview with ESPN The Magazine, Tressel welcomed him back with open arms when Clarett was released from prison. He allowed him to work out at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on campus and even helped Clarett secure another chance at football with a call to the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League, so it should come as no surprise when Rosenhaus said that Tressel and Pryor still talk on a regular basis, although 4-5 times a day seems like a bit of a stretch.
“There’s no way I would be representing him without Jim Tressel’s involvement,” Rosenhaus said.
“We’re going to work very closely together. He’s going to champion this young man. I was touched by what he had to say about Terrelle’s character, his work ethic, his drive and his makeup. I’ve represented a lot of players in the NFL and this young man has got character.”
Some of Rosenhaus’s other clients include Terrell Owens, Kellen Winslow, Chad Ochocinco and Plaxico Burress. That list might lead to at least a suspicion that his sense of character might be a little flawed, like Tressel’s, who seemed to gravitate towards the kids who needed rehabilitated. Or maybe they are able to see things in a way that others don't.
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