Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones has a feel for what Terrelle Pryor has gone through at Ohio State, and he says the former Buckeyes quarterback, who is assessing his future in the wake of the scandal that has engulfed the school's football program, shouldn't be castigated for the decisions and mistakes he's made.
Pryor, who has admitted to trading memorabilia to a Columbus, Ohio, tattoo artist for money and tattoos, said Tuesday he would forgo his senior season. The Saskatchewan Roughriders have acquired his Canadian Football League rights and made a tentative contract offer, but Pryor said Thursday he has no plans to play north of the border.
Meanwhile, Jones, appearing Thursday on 102.3 The Ticket radio in Denver, said that "if somebody asked me for my jersey and ring, I'd have probably gave it to them, too."
"First of all, you've got to understand a kid that don't have nothing, and you're living from Pell Grant to every little check that you can ever muster," Jones said, when asked about being a student-athlete at West Virginia. "You only get $690, and that's paying the rent. So there would be times that you would attempt to do different things to make sure that you're OK. ... You get to a point where you need a couple extra dollars and (Pryor) shouldn't be thrown up under the bus for what he done.
"It was a big deal to (Ohio State), but at the end of the day all he was trying to do was probably get some McDonald's or something."
Jones, who has had his share of off-field problems -- he was suspended for the 2007 NFL season after a strip-club melee in Las Vegas -- says Pryor deserves an opportunity to mature.
"When I was a child," he said, "I made foolish decisions. Now that I'm a man, I make great decisions. I'll just leave it at that.
"(At) 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, you're not really focused on the big picture. Not the big picture, but there's a lot of temptations at that age. ... When you get older, you realize, dang, that wasn't a good decision right there. ... You can't tell me, not one of you, can't tell me that when you was 19 or 20 years old, you didn't make bad decisions."
The scandal led to Jim Tressel's resignation last month as Ohio State's head coach and could result in major NCAA sanctions against the program.
"If Carson don't want to be here, damn him, period, point blank," Jones said. "I love the city of Cincinnati. His little brother (Jordan, also a Bengals quarterback) is here working out, which is a good sign. But if you don't want to be here, I don't want you here. I want some guys that want to play and want to win, period, point blank, and that's the end of that discussion."