Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor was originally suspended for five games by the NFL for his college transgressions, as the NFL thought Pryor manipulated the supplemental draft system to avoid his collegiate punishment. Pryor appealed his suspension, but it was upheld by the NFL.
"This smacks of a calculated effort to manipulate our eligibility rules in a way that undermines the integrity of, and public confidence in, those rules," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said when he upheld the decision.
Originally barred from the supplemental draft, Pyror was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round back in August. Pryor originally said he would not appeal his suspension, but ultimately decided to appeal it.
Members of the NFLPA executive committee were not pleased with Goodell issuing a suspension for actions that took place before the player joined the NFL. "He took it to another level when he said he was going to suspend Terrelle Pryor for five games and he wasn't even in the NFL last year," said NFLPA executive committee member and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch. "How can you do that? It's not right. It's not right at all."
Batch was heavily involved in the NFL lockout. Batch may have been a driving force in Pryor choosing to appeal his suspension. "I told Terrelle what he should do. I am not going to tell you what I told him, but I told him what he should do," Batch told Yahoo!'s Doug Farrar. "Whatever the Raiders want him to do, that is what they will do."
It's a weird dynamic that Roger Goodell suspended Pryor for something he did at the college level and tried to enter the NFL's supplemental draft, which is typically filled with players who flunk out or get kicked out of school after the draft declaration deadline. None of those other players were barred from the supplemental draft, but Pryor was. Not only that, but aside from a possible suspension of Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson, the league has yet to suspend other players for their transgressions during the lockout.
The Steelers in particular don't like the heavy-handedness Goodell has shown, given players like James Harrison and now James Farrior have been hit with heavy fines on some questionable hits. Just recently, Farrior was slapped with a $15,000 fine for a hit on Indianapolis Colts quarterback Kerry Collins on Sunday night. Farrior wasn't flagged on the play, and Farrior and his agent have appealed the fine. Farrior felt that because Collins suffered a concussion on the hit, the NFL was trying to send a message because of their increased spotlight on concussions.
"No doubt about it," Farrior told the Post-Gazette. "With everything that's going on now, I think that's what happened."
Since Pryor's five-game suspension has been upheld, the first time the Jeannette native can be active in the 2011 NFL season is after the Raiders October 9 match up with the Houston Texans. He can then begin to practice with the team.
For more on the Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL fines, check out Behind The Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog. For more on the Oakland Raiders and Pryor's suspension, check out Silver and Black Pride, SB Nation's Raiders blog.