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Pryor's attorney: Decision is coming soon

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By Richard Gazarik
Saturday, June 4, 2011

The attorney for Terrelle Pryor said Friday that the suspended Ohio State quarterback must decide soon whether he'll return for his senior season or turn pro by declaring for the NFL's July supplemental draft.

Larry James of Columbus said Pryor's future may be decided by the result of an ongoing NCAA investigation into whether he traded sports memorabilia for cash and tattoos and was given special deals on vehicles. Pryor has been suspended for the first five games of the upcoming season, but the NCAA could extend that ban.

Willie Burns, Pryor's godfather and legal guardian when he attended Jeannette High School, disputed an Associated Press report in which he was quoted as saying he expects Pryor to play at Ohio State this fall. Burns told the Tribune-Review that he's not sure what Pryor will do.

"He's his own man," Burns said. "If he quits and goes pro, it's on him. If he stays, it's on him."

Following the resignation of coach Jim Tressel on Monday after he drew criticism for failing to inform the university about possible NCAA violations, the spotlight turned to Pryor. When asked about Pryor's long-term plans, James said "it's premature to answer that right now."

"We're in a pretty good place on the issue of the cars," he said. "We'll face the issue of the memorabilia at the appropriate time. We will sit down with Terrelle and go through all the options."

So far, the acrimony directed at Pryor and his family has been unrelenting, James said.

"Can you imagine, given how the atmosphere has been, how he will be received when he walks into that stadium?" he said. "The young man is distraught. (His mother, Toni) is very distraught. Terrelle made mistakes, but his mother doesn't deserve anything like she's been subjected to."

James said every allegation about Pryor that has been reported is accepted "as if it's gospel."

"(The fans) turn against him on a dime," he said. "If he was drowning, I'm not sure how many people would want him to live."

Toni Pryor first bought her son a Hyundai Sonata and later purchased a Dodge Charger for him, James said. Both were bought in Pennsylvania. He said Pryor had the Charger serviced in Ohio and was provided with loaner cars from two dealerships.

Under NCAA rules, a student-athlete is not allowed to receive a deal or discount that isn't available to the general public. James said the compliance office at Ohio State signed off on the recent purchase of a Nissan 350Z sports car that was financed by Pryor's mother.

"I called Mrs. Pryor," James said. "She brought in the receipt. She paid $11,000."

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