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Veterans, agents concerned Pryor ban could set bad precedent

The playing status of Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor remains up in the air, as does the appeal of the five-game suspension he was assessed after the NFL allowed him to enter the August supplemental draft.

The league was informed of Pryor's intent to appeal the suspension and related discipline on Aug. 25, and on Aug. 31, the NFL Players Association was invited to lodge its objections to the punishments levied by commissioner Roger Goodell.

No formal letter of appeal is necessary in this case, as the email from Pryor's camp notifying the league of the intent to appeal is considered the appeal.

The Raiders selected Pryor in the third round of the supplemental draft on August 22 and are in favor of the appeal in hopes of, at the very least, reducing the restrictions on Pryor, according to a league source.

The next step in the process, according to the source, is for Goodell to set a hearing date, though Pryor could pull the plug on the appeal at any time. Pryor has been apprised in the last few days of the status of the appeal, while continuing working with the Raiders.

The league declined comment on the matter on Monday night.

Concerns from veteran players and agents over the NFL enforcing NCAA penalties are the driving force behind the appeal at this point, with figures in those areas concerned that a dangerous precedent could be set. In December, Pryor was suspended for the first five games of the 2011 college season by the NCAA for accepting improper benefits and selling awards, a penalty that might seem to mirror the NFL's punishment, though the league's contention has been that the two are not directly related.

Pryor's coach at Ohio State, Jim Tressel, was also set to serve a five-game suspension at the beginning of 2011, before resigning on Memorial Day, which led to Pryor leaving school to pursue an NFL career. Tressel has since been hired by the Colts as a game-day consultant. Tressel and the team released a statement on Monday saying that the coach will sit out the first six weeks of the season.

The position of the veteran players and agents is that the NFL shouldn't be involved in NCAA punishments in either case.

The process of Pryor getting into the supplemental draft was handled over the first two weeks of August, primarily between the quarterback's camp and the commissioner's office. The decision to suspend Pryor for five games was Goodell's, with the player's right to appeal written into the verdict. Part of the commissioner's ruling that Pryor's camp fought hard for was his right to be at his new team's facility, and participate in meetings -- something that was granted.

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