Chip Kelly case recalls NFL’s suspension of Terrelle Pryor


Chip Kelly likely won’t face any discipline of any kind for breaking NCAA recruiting rules at Oregon. The NCAA’s 18-month punishment is meaningless after Kelly signed a multi-year contract to coach the Eagles, and the NFL probably won’t wade into the matter, just as it didn’t wade into the matter when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was found to have violated recruiting rules at USC.

So far, the NFL hasn’t had anything to say about the news today that Kelly broke NCAA rules. Asked for a reaction to Kelly’s NCAA discipline, the league office told PFT only, “We are not familiar yet with the details and prefer not to comment.”

But the NFL has already set a bad precedent when it comes to discipline for violating NCAA rules, and it’s now fair to criticize the league if it doesn’t discipline Kelly for violating NCAA rules. That bad precedent was set when the NFL suspended quarterback Terrelle Pryor for the first five games of his NFL career, a suspension that was the same as the suspension that he would have served if he had remained at Ohio State for his senior year. The NFL’s contention was that Pryor deserved punishment because he manipulated the league’s eligibility rules, but the reality is that the NFL allowed Pryor to enter the supplemental draft. Once the league ruled that he was eligible to play, suspending him for something he had done previously never made a lot of sense: Why is it the NFL’s place to enforce a suspension that the NCAA handed down?

At the time of the Pryor suspension, the NFL probably thought it was a unique situation that wouldn’t repeat itself. But it turned out that shortly after the league suspended Pryor, the Colts hired his old coach, Jim Tressel, to be their replay assistant. Tressel had been fired at Ohio State in connection with the same NCAA rules violations that got Pryor suspended, so the Colts’ decision to bring Tressel on board was heavily questioned — why is Tressel allowed to coach right away if Pryor isn’t allowed to play right away? After those questions surfaced, Tressel was quickly handed a six-game suspension of his own. The Tressel suspension was made by the Colts, although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that if the Colts hadn’t suspended Tressel, he would have.

Ultimately, the NFL set a bad precedent when it suspended Pryor for something he had done when he wasn’t even an NFL player yet, then compounded that bad precedent after it was caught off-guard when the Colts hired Tressel. The NFL almost certainly won’t compound that mistake again and suspend Kelly for his NCAA transgressions. And that will serve as a reminder that the league erred when it suspended Pryor.

25 responses to “Chip Kelly case recalls NFL’s suspension of Terrelle Pryor

  1. It’s almost as if the author is suggesting that Roger Goodell LIED when he said Pryor was suspended for manipulating himself into the supplemental draft.

    Goodell…LIE? How could that be?????

  2. ” and it’s now fair to criticize the league if it doesn’t discipline Kelly for violating NCAA rules. ”

    –No it’s not. It’s fair to say the NFL shouldn’t have suspended Pryor, and that’s all.

  3. Didn’t Pryor opt for the NFL because he had been suspended in the NCAA?

    The NFL was just upholding that previous suspension, no?

    Was Kelly suspended by the NCAA prior to joining the NFL?

  4. souldogdave says: Not to mention SeaHawks head coach who got caught for cheating in College ball and got a walk to the NFL…

    Big difference- unlike Chip Kelly or Jim Tressel, the NCAA did not impose a “show cause” sanction on Pete Carroll.

  5. Kelly’s broken rules were at college, he did not break any NFL league rules (same with Carrol). In Pryor’s case, he broke NFL rules.

  6. Maybe because Ohio state committed major violations taht they are still paying for, and Oregon was giving a relavitely minor 1 scholarship pentalty for the next 2 years?

    Also, the ruling for Chip was basically “if you get a job in college for the next year and a half, we have to have a meeting”

    It would be like saying you have to throw the book at a jaywalker becuase you were tough on an attempted murder

  7. Again… it’s a much bigger deal to suspend a head coach than it is a “replay consultant” or a 3rd string rookie QB.

  8. What are the odds Pryor sues, especially if he gets cut from the Raiders and not picked up (after all the avg career of an NFL player is only 3 years) for the lost game checks? Lost opportunity? Etc? Once the NFL opened that can of worms, they committed to keeping it open.

  9. It’s obvious that Pryor made a deal before the NFL announced that they would make him eligible for the suppemental draft:

    “If we let you in a supplemental draft that you’re presently not eligible to enter (meaning that you have to wait another 10 months before you can be drafted), you will accept a suspension at the start of the NFL season. Don’t accept the deal, we’ll see you next April.”

    What a terrible thing Pryor did by keeping his word.

  10. Will I get back the time and bandwidth I spent arguing that very point back when? Will you trot out all those dopes I was arguing with, to be publicly humiliated?

  11. I never did understand how NCAA rules or sanctions were carried over by the NFL for Pryor, but the Colts had to suspend Tressel. Leave NCAA rules where they are.

  12. Everyone keeps saying how Pete Carroll was a “blatant cheater”. If it was THAT “blatant”, how come it took a 5 year investigation before the NCAA sanctioned USC? And why does everyone always mention Carroll as the “cheater”. Bush and his family were the ones who received the benefits, and Pete Carroll’s name ever came up.

  13. Goodell has made it a priority to position the NFL has having a “badge of honor” as it relates to the NFL’s image and reputation. He is hard to take serious when he penalized Pryor for something he did while in college but turns a blind eye to both Chip Kelly and Pete Carroll and what they did to their entire college programs and schools. The NCAA doesn’t punish Kelly or Carroll and the NFL ends up rewarding them by allowing them to sign huge NFL contracts. Rather hypocritical Mr. Goodell.

  14. I think the spirit of the original punishment was to prevent people from circumventing NCAA punishment by jumping to the NFL. I believe that is a good practice for the NFL and should continue. The NCAA and NFL work together in many other areas so it’s not a stretch to maintain this practice at all. It’s for the good of the integrity of the game.

    I’m no fan of Carroll, but I can clearly see the difference in cases. We’re talking about a 5+ year investigation here which would be far too difficult to then impose on an NFL coach/team.

    When it comes to Kelly this shouldn’t be an issue tho given the nature of the NCAA punishment. Since it isn’t an actual suspension what’s there to carry over?

  15. Gotta say it….”Ain’t it GREAT to be an Eagles fan!”
    After the day /week the Patriots fans are experiencing – that’s all I’m going to say…….

  16. sgtr0c says:
    Jun 26, 2013 4:33 PM
    Kelly’s broken rules were at college, he did not break any NFL league rules (same with Carrol). In Pryor’s case, he broke NFL rules.
    lol, wow. SMH.

  17. I think Goodell gets a lot of undeserved grief for taking realistic steps over concussions, but this story just underlines the basic truth that the guy is a weak-kneed lightweight. He’s pushed around by the lightest PR breezes and acts without much thought.

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