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Batch weighs in on Pryor suspension

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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011

Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch felt that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had too much power when it came to disciplining players before the new collective bargaining agreement, and nothing has changed his mind.

Batch, a member of the NFLPA's executive committee and a 13-year veteran, feels that Goodell went too far and set a bad precedent when he suspended Jeannette's Terrelle Pryor five games before allowing him to be eligible for last week's supplemental draft.

"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 Batch, who has been mentoring Pryor for years. "How can you do that• It's not right. It's not right at all."

Pryor and his counsel accepted the deal put together by Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith so that the former Ohio State quarterback would not have to sit out an entire year.

Pryor was initially slated for a five-game suspension at Ohio State for receiving improper benefits before he decided to leave the school.

"I know players are concerned about the message this sends," executive committee member and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita said last week. "The general concern now is how far into Pandora's box this may go. This raises so many questions, and I think players are rightfully concerned."

Pryor must sit out the first five regular-season games and not practice with the team during that span. Pryor was selected in the third round of the supplemental draft and signed a four-year, $2.7 million deal. He said that he would not appeal the five-game suspension.

Batch offered his opinion to Pryor.

"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 said. "Whatever the Raiders want him to do, that is what they will do."

The Steelers were the only one of 32 NFL teams that voted against the collective bargaining agreement in August, in large part because of the control Goodell had over discipline issues.

Even though Goodell recently decided against suspending both Tampa Bay cornerback Aqib Talib and Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt, Batch said that Goodell had no choice in the matter.

Talib is facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Britt was arrested twice in New Jersey and had two arrest warrants in Tennessee during the lockout.

"We made one statement (as the NFLPA) and that statement was, 'You made the rules, you locked us out,' so how can you enforce your personal conduct policy?" Batch said. "How can you suspend somebody when he is not found guilty, but he chose to find a way to do that. I think he has too much leverage with his personal conduct policy because there are no rules."

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