Columbus photog on Terrelle Pryor: ‘I haven’t given him a dollar’

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Even as the career of Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State came to an abrupt end earlier this week, the soap opera that was the quarterback’s three years in Columbus continues unabated.

A former, unnamed friend of Pryor alleged on an ESPN Outside the Lines report Tuesday, the same day Pryor announced he was giving up his final season of eligibility, that he had witnessed Dennis Talbot paying Pryor anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 in 2009-10 in exchange for Pryor’s signature on various pieces of OSU memorabilia.  In an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer Thursday, the Columbus photographer/purported memorabilia maven vehemently denied that he had paid anything to the player, let alone an amount the five-figure numbers thrown out by OTL.

“They are potentially destroying people’s lives,” Talbott told Doug Lesmerises of the Plain Dealer over the phone. “It’s not true. I haven’t given him a dollar. I haven’t given him anything perceived as an improper benefit.”

In an interview Thursday on Sirius/XM in which he hinted at possible legal action against ESPN for what he described as a “bogus” report, Pryor’s attorney, Larry James, said that he knew Talbott but that the “part-time photographer… is not a deep-pocket player.”

“This is out of his league, he doesn’t have that kind of cash,” James said yesterday. “He is not one of those dealers that one would say ‘Dennis has the ability to negotiate the buying and selling of memorabilia that Terrelle has signed.’  No, Dennis was a part-time photographer that knew a lot of the players, guy around town, most of us knew him.  He was basically harmless, he is no big deal, and he definitely did not have the wherewithal to do that kind of stuff.”

Talbott concurred with James’ assessment of him as a small-time player.

“I don’t have the wherewithal to do that,” Talbott told the paper. “I just don’t. …

“I have never made it a secret that Terrelle and I have a relationship. I’d like for people to show a picture of me pulling out my wallet or putting something on my tab. These things don’t exist. People say things that aren’t accurate.”

The dogged and tireless Brooks of SportsByBrooks.com, who reported earlier in the week that checks with Talbott’s name on them had been deposited into Pryor’s bank account, reported early Friday morning that a now-defunct, unregistered-in-the-state-of-Ohio website called varsityomem.com had been selling signed OSU memorabilia — including Pryor items — going back several years.  A “Varsity O Memorabilia” Facebook page, last updated two months ago Brooks writes, “features some of the product procured by Talbott over the years from dozens of Buckeye football and basketball players.”  According to Brooks, Talbott was the only registered owner of the varsityomem.com website.

Additionally, the Plain Dealer reported that Pryor and another unnamed Buckeye football player had in the past played golf on at least five occasions with Talbott at a Columbus-area country club.  Because of Talbott’s membership at the club, Pryor and the unnamed player were permitted to play for free, which would constitute impermissible benefits and an NCAA violation.

That’s not exactly the way Talbot sees it, however.

Talbott said he did not golf with the players that many times, adding, “Even if I golfed with him, it’s not an NCAA violation.” Talbott said he never paid for any players to golf with him.

Finally, and something that may or may not be apropos of anything, Talbott drives around in a Buckeyes-themed vehicle with vanity plates that read… wait for it… “T PRYOR”.

Now, I don’t know the extent of Talbott’s relationship with Pryor or if any NCAA violations were committed because of the relationship, but I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a 40-year-old, grown-ass man willingly driving around with a college football player’s name on his license plates pegs and obliterates the “creepy” meter.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.