Terrelle Pryor's summer odyssey has now taken another interesting step, straight into the arms of Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden. The maligned former Buckeye and current NFL prospect sat down with Gruden for one of his "QB Camp" specials that will air on June 30 at 9pm ET. Excerpts will also run during the week on SportsCenter leading up to the special. Let's look at the TP saga step by step, because I'm having a hard time figuring this out...
-Top HS prospect hyped as the next greatest player in the history of college football.
-Prospect makes his decision to attend Ohio State live on ESPN to an audience of millions.
-Ohio State QB criticized for not matching previous hype and not being the greatest player in the history of college football.
-OSU QB enters into feud with ESPN analyst, also a former OSU QB.
-Player is embroiled in memorabilia/tattoo scandal that warrants a suspension as his coach loses his job and the school falls into a great scandal.
-As OSU coach resigns, QB is vilified by media and comes under more off-field scrutiny.
-Now disgraced QB leaves OSU, plans to enter NFL Supplemental Draft as media experts question his skills and future as an NFL prospect.
-NFL prospect participates in ESPN show about improving his questionable QB skills and future in the league.
Excuse me if I'm the only one that is troubled by Terrelle Pryor's relationship with ESPN and the way the sports media has covered him the last four years. It was ESPN and the sports media that built Pryor up to impossible heights. It was ESPN and the sports media that killed him for not living up to that hype (in spite of going 31-4 as a starter and winning a Rose Bowl and winning a Sugar Bowl and being MVP in both of those games). It was ESPN and the sports media that shamed him throughout the Tressel scandal. And now, it's ESPN and the sports media that will cling to his story of trying to make it in the NFL... and ESPN will get a TV special and a week's worth of SportsCenter segments out of it. Here's a preview from SportsCenter today and thoughts about the special...
Terrelle Pryor's story says more about the power of ESPN and the sports media to mold and shape someone's career than almost any athlete in the last decade. Doesn't it make you feel queasy that after destroying Terrelle Pryor's quarterbacking ability, character, and almost everything else about the man... that ESPN is now going to trumpet out Jon Gruden and his QB Camp to try and resurrect his NFL hopes and further exploit his football life? Don't get me wrong, I love Gruden's QB Camp shows, which is one of ESPN's best new programs of the last several years. But, this time it seems different. This time it seems like ESPN is taking advantage of a fallen Pryor, a narrative that ESPN has gladly taken part in. Sports media outlets have gone after Ohio State and Terrelle Pryor with a ferociousness rarely seen before.
Pryor has nobody to blame for his present circumstances besides himself, yet it seems like we're going all the way back to his signing day in this next step of his football career. The entire Pryor camp including his agent Drew Rosenhaus will likely see Gruden's QB Camp as one of the early steps to TP's recovery and rehabilitation in the public spotlight and wholeheartedly support the special. However, Pryor is still being played by the same hype and publicity from the sports media that met him in Jeannette, PA. This time though, Pryor will be a quarterback project instead of a quarterback prophet. It is a compelling story, but one that has largely been molded by how the sports media has continually built up and torn down Terrelle Pryor. I'll certainly watch Gruden's QB Camp special with Pryor, but maybe with just one eye open.