Terrelle Pryor’s next set of problems could come from the IRS

Getty Images

Setting aside all personal feelings regarding whether colleges should give their football players fair compensation above and beyond the far-less-than-retail cost of a free education (I think they should) and whether players who aren’t getting paid whenever everyone else connected to the process is getting paid should take whatever they can get (again, I think they should), there’s one important point to keep in mind when it comes to putting that hand out whenever someone wants to put something of value in it.

The tax man eventually will want his cut.  Or, even worse, the tax man will want to know after the fact precisely why he didn’t get his cut.

Perhaps that’s the best reason for the NCAA potentially revising its rules to reflect reality, and setting up (for example) an Olympics-style system that allows “amateur” players to make money via sponsors or autographs, and that ensures all associated taxes are paid.  The current system, in which the NCAA keeps its head in the sand or a far less sanitary personal orifice until someone in the media generates evidence that players are indeed getting paid, easily could result in proof that the players who have gotten paid have failed to pay their fair share to the IRS and/or the state-level taxing authority.

In the case of Terrelle Pryor, his decision to leave Ohio State possibly was influenced in part by his desire to cut off the NCAA’s effort to generate the kind of evidence that would possibly attract the attention of any Columbus-area IRS agents who now possibly hold a grudge against Pryor for contributing to the possible demise of possibly the best football program in the state, including the two NFL teams that reside there.  Indeed, Pryor’s lawyer made it crystal clear during a Thursday appearance on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio that, with Pryor leaving an NCAA-covered institution, Pryor no longer will cooperate with any NCAA investigation.

“As to going forward with the NCAA, he’s done,” lawyer Larry James said.

“Completely done?” host Jason Horowitz asked.  “He was no responsibility in terms of talking to them, in terms of their investigation with Ohio State?”

“None,” James said.

“Why is that?”

“Well he’s no longer subject to the NCAA rules since he’s no longer a student-athlete,” James explained.

“And he still doesn’t have to answer questions?  He doesn’t feel an obligation to answer questions as to what went on with his role?”

“Well, you know I think that he’s already answered the questions more than a couple times,” James said, “but these new things that are coming out of the blue, no he will not.”

And if Pryor doesn’t talk about “these new things that are coming out of the blue,” the chances of the IRS getting involved will be minimized, since no evidence of any green flowing from the things coming out of the blue would be documented.

Then again, it may be too late for that.  Even though Pryor is now beyond the jurisdiction of the NCAA, he’s not beyond the long arm of Uncle Sam.  That’s why Larry James should be advising Pryor to strongly consider determining the precise amount of any and all income generated during three years at Ohio State, and to get those taxes and any associated interest or penalties paid, ASAFP.

Friday morning one-liners

Getty Images

A look at the 10 coldest games in Bills history.

According to Dolphins WR Brian Hartline, Jim Tressel was the victim of a flawed system.

Patriots S Bret Lockett is linking himself to reality TV stalwart Kim Kardashian.

Vic Carucci of NFL.com thinks Jets QB Mark Sanchez doesn’t get enough credit for the team’s success.

The Ravens need to start looking for a new trainer.

Bengals CB Adam Jones thinks everyone’s being too hard on former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com thinks Steelers S Troy Polamalu is an overrated player.

Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar broke down some techniques for the team’s website.

Colts DE Dwight Freeney talks about how he’s keeping busy during the lockout.

The Jaguars don’t seem to be lacking in motivation.

Titans G Leroy Harris thinks QB Jake Locker will be ready to start this season.

The Broncos need Eddie Royal to be a contributor as both a receiver and returner.

Former Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer talked about his decision to move to the UFL.

Whether he leaves the Raiders or not, G Robert Gallery will likely cash in when free agency opens.

Will the Chargers get more from RB Ryan Mathews in his second season?

The Cowboys should resume their workouts pretty soon, according to WR Manny Johnson.

Thanks to DeSean Jackson, the Giants found themselves on the wrong end of the NFL Network’s best game of 2010.

Adam Schein of FoxSports.com doesn’t think Mike Kafka is ready to be the Eagles’ backup quarterback.

One of WR Niles Paul’s college coaches thinks the Redskins got a steal in the draft.

Lions OL Dominic Raiola thinks it is sad that the NFL is contemplating an eight-game schedule.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw out the first pitch at Thursday’s Brewers game.

Coach Leslie Frazier promised the Vikings will be ready once the lockout ends.

Falcons QB Chris Redman said he and his teammates remain behind the union.

Panthers C Ryan Kalil hinted about “Hard Knocks” coming to town.

Don Banks of SI.com thinks the Saints are the kind of team that might take a late-round chance on QB Terrelle Pryor.

Much of the taxpayer money ticketed for renovations at the Buccaneers’ home field will go toward luxury boxes.

The Cardinals wide receiver depth chart is wide open behind Larry Fitzgerald.

Rams RB Steven Jackson is going to be inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.

Were the Seahawks really the second best pass protection team last season?

Aaron Rodgers will talk with teammates about getting together for workouts


Even though we think Tedy Bruschi may want to switch to decaf before the next time he criticizes the Packers for not practicing this offseason, perhaps the increased chatter has made an impact.

Aaron Rodgers said Thursday during a Milwaukee Brewers broadcast that he’s going to talk to other team leaders about getting together.

“At some point, if this lockout persists, then there is no doubt we’re going to get together,” Rodgers said via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. “Guys have gotten in some great work individually, and some in groups of two or three. There’s a lot of guys in the same area working out, but at some point we’ll have to get together.

“I’m going to talk to Charles [Woodson] tomorrow at the event I’m going to for Greg Jennings’ charity, and we’re going to put something together. Because it looks like it’s going to go on for a little bit longer, so it’s going to be important for us to get together.”

Rodgers later expressed reservations to Wilde via text message about whether the workouts’ risks (injuries) outweigh the rewards.  The team also gets together next week to collect their Super Bowl rings.

We get the feeling that some teams around the league are only getting together out of peer pressure to look good. If Rodgers and the Packers don’t think it will help them, they shouldn’t bother just to please the public and Tedy Bruschi.

Massachusetts newspaper sticks by its “lockout almost over” report

From time to time over the years, a reporter has issued a grossly premature report.  Faced with evidence that the report is grossly premature, the reporter has dug in, bought time, hoped for the report to finally come to fruition, and then claimed he/she was right all along.

That’s precisely how Bill Burt of the Eagle-Tribune, the pride of North Andover, Massachusetts, seems to be playing his “lockout almost over” report.

Faced with widespread debunking of his grossly premature report that the lockout is “almost over” — including direct denials from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello and NFLPA* spokesman George Atallah — Burt has massaged the language of his report, without acknowledging the many voices that have strongly contradicted Burt’s story.

For example, the original first line of the report was as simple and clear as it could have been:  “The National Football League’s lockout is over.”  Now, the first line says, “A deal to end the National Football League’s lockout is almost complete, according to an NFL source.”

Burt then adds this, for good measure:  “According to the source, owners and players were close to an agreement today to end the lockout, which entered its 86th day today.”

And so Burt can now sit back and wait for a deal to be done, which could happen before the end of the month, and then he can claim that he was right all along.

So why did Burt pick Thursday for his report that the lockout is “over” and/or “almost over”?  Given that plenty of media types out there rely on this site and other sites as the starting point for their own reporting (often without attribution), we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Burt took a little bit too literally this recent observation:  “[Patriots owner Robert] Kraft said earlier this year that, if the lawyers were pushed away from the table, a deal could be reached in a week.  With three days of talks last week and one this week, maybe we’ll have some unexpected good news in time for the weekend.”

Whenever that good news come, look for Bill Burt to claim that he had the scoop all along.

Charlie Batch gets to keep most of his assets in bankruptcy

Getty Images

Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch is making out pretty well after going to bankruptcy court this week.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Batch had many of his debts discharged, meaning creditors can’t come after him. His Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows him to keep most of his assets, including his house and his Super Bowl rings. Previous reports indicated that Batch could lose his Super Bowl rings in bankruptcy.

Batch listed $2.3 million in assets and $8.3 million in debts, mostly involving various failed business ventures. Batch has played 13 NFL seasons and likely made well over $20 million, including the $13 million signing bonus he received from the Lions in 2000.

As an active member of the NFLPA*, Batch should speak at the upcoming rookie symposium. Young players could learn a thing or two from a player who made enough money to last several lifetimes, but had to declare bankruptcy before his career ended.

Erik Ainge suffers torn rotator cuff

Erik Ainge, the New York Jets quarterback who missed the entire 2010 season after entering drug rehab, is apparently going to miss all of 2011 as well.

Ainge wrote on his verified Twitter account that he suffered a serious injury to his throwing shoulder.

“Found out i have a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder today, no fun, o well, could always be worse, im sober and loved, all that matters,” Ainge tweeted.

A torn rotator cuff in the throwing shoulder almost certainly means that Ainge is out for the entire 2011 season. A 2008 fifth-round pick out of Tennessee, Ainge has still never played in a regular-season game.

Ainge revealed this spring that he had been using heroin and cocaine and that he was “under the influence pretty much every day, every practice.” If he’s sober now, he’s overcome something far more serious than a torn rotator cuff.