Entering the NFL's supplemental draft is Terrelle Pryor's "desire," according to his attorney. But might he be better off first playing professional football in the United Football League?
A well-placed UFL source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter Wednesday that Pryor would benefit from the coaching in the league, which includes high-profile former NFL coaches such as Marty Schottenheimer, Dennis Green, Jim Fassel and Jerry Glanville. The source said he believes there's "a decent shot" Pryor could wind up playing this year in the UFL.
The former Ohio State quarterback hasn't yet applied with the NFL for the supplemental draft, attorney Larry James told ESPN's Joe Schad Wednesday.
An Ohio State spokesman told ESPN on Wednesday: "We anticipate that Terrelle will be eligible for the NFL supplemental draft."
Because NFL rules dictate that a player must have new eligibility issues develop from the time the April NFL draft concludes, this is an indication Ohio State was changing Pryor's eligibilty status, a person familiar with NCAA compliance told Schad on Wednesday.
Pryor had been suspended for the first five games of this season for violations of NCAA extra benefits rules.
To be eligible for the supplemental draft, a player must request an application for special ability. If the player meets the criteria (such as losing his eligibility or becoming academically ineligible), he would be sent an application from the NFL and must submit it to the league office before the deadline, which has not been set yet.
James said Pryor may file his paperwork with the NFL early next week, but they are still exploring the deadlines and rules for doing so. The attorney also said that Pryor might train with quarterback guru George Whitfield, who trained Cam Newton for the NFL draft and played for former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel.
James said various sports agents and trainers and quarterback coaches had already reached out to Pryor through him and that the quarterback would weigh his options. On Tuesday, James acknowledged that the NFL's ongoing lockout could lead Pryor to consider playing in the Canadian Football League, as well.
Few NFL draft experts consider the 6-foot-6, 233-pound Pryor to be NFL-ready as a quarterback. With his speed and size, he might be better suited as a big wide receiver in the mold of Plaxico Burress.
Despite the NFL's labor uncertainty, sources at the NFL told Schefter and ESPN.com's John Clayton that the league believes it can hold a supplemental draft.
"If there are players that apply and are deemed eligible, there will be a supplemental draft," a league source told Schefter. The supplemental draft, if needed, would be held sometime in July.
Teams submit picks to the league; the team with the highest bid receives the player, but loses the corresponding pick in the next draft.
According to James, neither interim Ohio State coach Luke Fickell nor Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith suggested that Pryor leave the school.
"The fun was gone for him," James said.
He said Pryor was hurt by criticism by former Buckeyes players and at least one current one.
Pryor's departure announcement Tuesday came just eight days after Tressel was forced to resign for knowing about the players' improper benefits but not telling any of his superiors.
Later Tuesday night, "Outside the Lines" reporters Tom Farrey and Justine Gubar reported that a friend of Pryor's, who requested anonymity, says he witnessed the quarterback autographing memorabilia in 2009-10 a minimum of 35 to 40 times and that Pryor netted anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 last year for doing so.
The former friend told ESPN that Pryor was paid $500 to $1,000 each time he signed mini football helmets and other gear for a Columbus businessman and freelance photographer, Dennis Talbott.
"Outside the Lines" reported Talbott twice denied that he ever paid Pryor or any other active Buckeyes student-athlete to sign memorabilia.
James said Wednesday the report connecting Pryor to Talbott is "fiction." He said Talbott does not have the financials to possibly have given out the kind of money reported. He said a court filing in Franklin County, Ohio, will show Talbott's extensive financial woes.
Ohio State will go before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions Aug. 12.
James said he's not sure if Pryor will speak with the NCAA moving forward. With Pryor no longer a college football player, he is no longer obligated to meet with the NCAA.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad, ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton and "Outside the Lines" reporters Tom Farrey and Justine Gubar was used in this report.