Terrelle Pryor was last seen at Ohio State running a red light at the Woody Hayes complex while fleeing TV camera crews in a Nissan 350Z he didn't own. For his role in Tatgate in 2011, Gene Smith dissociated Terrelle Pryor from the university for five years.
In 2012, during The Game, Jim Tressel was honored on the field with the 2002 national championship team.
Granted, Terrelle Pryor never won a national championship or nearly as many games as Jim Tressel did as Ohio State's commander, but there's a reason they both took the hardest L's from the NCAA.
While Pryor is playing for the reigning world champs in Seattle and Tressel has ascended to the presidency of Youngstown State, the Ohio State football program is still being harmed for their actions.
I don't write that with any bitterness. Those are, however, the unassailable facts.
But it's curious to me how Tressel has all but been canonized by fans (and rightfully so), yet an odium still surrounds his former protegé. After all, Pryor had the excuse of youthful naïveté. Tressel was the professional.
For his part, Pryor says he wants back. From an interview with Cleveland.com:
"Obviously, I can't go back for another two years or so," Pryor said. "I love Ohio State. You know, I learned a lot and I had a lot of fun there and I met a lot of friends there. I love the place. It's unfortunate that I let the fans down for making the dumb mistake I made when I was 18. But you know, things happen and you learn from them, and I think the reason it happened to me is for other people to learn, and I'll take that any day."
"I'd love to, if I'm invited or accepted, I'd love to," Pryor said. "I don't want to cause any type of thing. I just want everything to be smooth. Even if I could talk to the guys about not taking things and being smart about the people you deal with, I'd love to do that one day, if the coaches are up to it or the head people at Ohio State are up to it. But that's a couple years away."
"I feel like we're all family. We're all Buckeyes. Everywhere I walk I see Buckeye fans that scream O-H at me to this day. It's crazy. When I walk out the door someone is from Ohio. So I have a lot of love for Ohio State and I have a lot of love for the fans. I have a love for everything that has to do with Ohio State. It's just unfortunate, the situation that rained down on us at the end.
While I have a better chance of receiving an honorary doctorate from Ohio State than Terrelle Pryor does of having his disassociation prematurely expunged, it doesn't change it being the right thing to do.
Terrelle Pryor brought a lot of his ending on himself — I once called him "a bit of douchebag" — but he never cooperated with the NCAA or burned Ohio State to the ground through the media. He even took an unprecedented five game suspension from the NFL because, like his former mentor, he was a good soldier.
Mistakes are only mistakes if you fail to learn from them, right? There's nothing keeping him in exile other than a rash decision made three years ago.
Because while it appears Terrelle Pryor has learned from his mistakes, you cannot yet say the same about Ohio State.