Terrelle Pryor, a native of Jeannette, PA, which is about 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh, was a third-round pick in the supplementary draft of 2011. He went to the Raiders as a quarterback, and, once there, he even managed to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013, authoring a 93-yard run, the longest in history by a quarterback.
Could the Steelers have potentially drafted him? It was a possibility, according to Pryor, who told reporters yesterday that he and the team “talked about them possibly drafting me”. But if it was up to Pryor, he didn’t want that to happen. He didn’t want to have the burden of playing quarterback in Pittsburgh.
“I just told them, it’s pretty close to home and I play quarterback, I didn’t feel comfortable playing there at quarterback because of all the people I know and people know me”, he told the pool of reporters. “It can get messy. The focus can’t be there”.
“I kind of told them”, he continued, “as much as I wanted to play there, because obviously it’s a great organization, at the same time it probably wouldn’t have worked out because there would have been a lot of focus issues, probably”.
This is, of course, only a topic of conversation due to the fact that Pryor has, over the course of the past year, worked hard at making a transition from the quarterback position to wide receiver, which is what most believed that he should have already been doing entering the draft five years ago, seeing that quarterback was not the position at which he could succeed in the NFL.
But having measured at over 6’4” at 240 pounds and posting a sub-4.4 40-yard dash time at his Pro Day for Ohio State back then, he had all the natural assets and abilities that would enable him to find success at another position—such as wide receiver, which is not an uncommon transition for physically talented college quarterbacks.
He has spent most of the 2016 season as the Cleveland Browns’ top target, and has caught 51 passes for 627 yards and four touchdowns in spite of the fact that he has played with five different quarterbacks, and even played a bit of quarterback himself due to the number of injuries that the team has dealt with over the course of the season.
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that he has “always viewed [Pryor] as a football player first, a positional guy second”, and has spoken highly of the former Ohio State product’s transition and success at wide receiver. He even suggested that Pryor could excel on defense if he wanted to based on his abilities.
Before his recent success at the position, Pryor spent some time with the Browns in 2015, and was active for two games. He caught one pass on the season—a 42-yard reception against the Steelers. On Sunday, he looks to show the area natives that he grew up with just how far he has come since then.