Terrelle Pryor was made available to media covering the Sugar Bowl over the weekend and the Ohio State quarterback talked openly about the NCAA violations that earned him and five teammates suspensions to be served next fall.
"That's been the hardest thing, just hearing people say cruel things about you and trying to stay focused," he said. "You know what you did for a reason, and you take your responsibility, but at the same time, guys are still nailing you and talking bad about you."
One of those people is ESPN commentator and former Buckeye quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, who recently said that if Pryor left Ohio State after his junior season, it would be addition by subtraction.
"I don't worry about what Kirk Herbstreit says, to be honest with you," Pryor said. After a pause, he added, "Has he beat Michigan?"
Herbstreit was a Buckeye from 1988-92, when the team went 0-4-1 against the Wolverines. When asked for a response to Pryor's comments by the Columbus Dispatch, Herbstreit sent a text message: "Wish him well."
Pryor also came under scrutiny over the weekend in a story published by the Dispatch detailing the vehicles he was driving while being stopped for three traffic violations in the past three years.
- In October 2008, Pryor was ticketed for speeding while driving a 2004 GMC Denali.
- In March 2009, Pryor was ticketed for speeding in a 2009 Dodge.
- A week later, Pryor was stopped for another infraction while driving the same Dodge.
The 2004 Denali belonged to car salesman Aaron Kniffin when he worked for the Jack Maxton dealership. The 2009 Dodge was registered to a Auto Direct, a used-car dealership where Kiffin worked.
Pryor told the newspaper he borrowed cars from the dealership only when his own was in for repairs. When asked about the SUV he borrowed in 2008, Pryor said, "I wanted advice from some of my family and friends I trusted to see if it would be a good vehicle for me to maybe buy."
Said Kniffin: "I personally do not do anything that's not aboveboard. Under no circumstances did somebody get something they didn't pay for."
An Ohio State official told the Dispatch that the school was aware of Pryor's use of the Dodge in 2009, but it was unaware of his driving the Denali in 2008. However, test driving a vehicle is not an NCAA violation.
Ohio State, according to the newspaper, examined the relationship between its athletes and Auto Direct in July after receiving an anonymous letter saying that employees were trading use of cars for autographed memorabilia. The school investigated and concluded there were no NCAA violations.
The Dispatch reported that about two dozen autographed jerseys hang inside Auto Direct's office, including those from Pryor, running back Daniel Herron and receiver DeVier Posey.
"I sign a lot of stuff for Buckeye fans — I don't like to turn down fans. But I don't do it to get any favors or discounts," Pryor told the newspaper.
Pryor's current ride is a black Dodge Charger that he bought from a lot in his hometown of Jeannette, Pa., in 2009.