By Shawn Muller–
CHICAGO (CBS) Everyone has a defining moment in life.
You don’t know when it is going to happen to you, but you know that somehow… someday… someway… it WILL happen.
For Terrelle Pryor, some might say that his defining moment occurred on Tuesday, when news broke out of Columbus, OH, that the Ohio State quarterback would not be returning for his senior season in 2011, due to the recent NCAA investigations into the Buckeye program and Pryor himself, for illegal benefits given to the school’s football players.
Yes, you would think that a player such as Pryor, with his free tattoos, alleged free loaner cars from Columbus area car dealerships, and an apparent $20,000-$40,000 financial gain in signed memorabilia, may just have had his defining moment arrive…especially with his “sudden” departure from the football team.
But if you follow Big Ten football as religiously as I do, you would have known that Pryor’s defining moment came in week one of the 2009 college football season. It was on that beautiful Saturday in September that I realized just how…um…ridiculous–to put it nicely–and how “care free” this Pryor kid was.
After the Buckeyes escaped with a two-point win over the Naval Academy, Terrelle Pryor was questioned by the media–not about his sub-par performance so to speak–but rather, about the name he printed on his eye-black in silver ink.
The name he wrote was “Michael Vick,” who at the time was serving a prison sentence for his role in a dog fighting ring in Virginia.
Pryor didn’t write “Mom,” “Dad,” “Grandma,” “Uncle Bob,” some Bible Psalm, or any other name or phrase that players normally jot down…
Nope. Just “Mike Vick.”
Now, if writing a message on eye black wasn’t already stupid enough, Pryor managed to make it even dumber, with his reasoning for writing the name of the then maligned ex-Falcons quarterback.
“Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world. I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever. I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will.”
Had he just said, “I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will,” I don’t think anyone would have really cared too much. Vick is a quarterback Pryor looked up to, and he wanted to show his support for him.
That’s cool, I guess, but Pryor couldn’t do that. Instead, he managed to implant his Nike football cleat firmly into his pie-hole. Everyone has said something stupid that they wish they could have taken back, but that statement made by Pryor never seemed to resonate with the uber-talented quarterback.
It was that quote, on that day in September of 2009 that became his defining moment.
Once he said that, I think all bets were off.
Like sharks, the media and the public smelled blood in the water, and anything dumb that Pryor did or said in the future, was open for criticism. He was under the microscope more than any other Buckeye football player I can remember, but he just couldn’t help himself.
In his three years on the Ohio State campus, Terrelle Pryor managed to help the Buckeyes win three Big Ten Titles, and two BCS Bowl Games. He was 31-4 as a starter. And he never lost to Michigan.
He was successful on the field, but he just couldn’t keep it together off of it.
He managed to turn Ohio State, the football program, and the city of Columbus, OH, into his own personal playground. He was a player who believed he was bigger than the program and he could do no wrong. With all of the negative attention he received as a Buckeye, it never seemed to make a difference with the way he acted. He took advantage of his “fame” for short-term personal gain, while compromising the long-term future of his reputation and the reputation of The Ohio State University.
That week in September of 2009 was small potatoes for Terrelle Pryor compared to his current problems.
But if it weren’t for that day…that defining moment in his Ohio State football career…maybe Pryor is suiting up for the Buckeyes in 2011, and not leaving the city of Columbus with his tail between his legs.
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.