Has Terrelle Pryor found his true calling at wide receiver?
As the Cleveland Browns coaching staff anxiously await the training camp arrival of veteran players Wednesday, there is genuine intrigue into whether Pryor can prove he's one of the best 53 men on the roster.
"He's just an explosive athlete and that's what the NFL's all about," coach Mike Pettine said in a sit-down interview with ClevelandBrowns.com. "I never wanted to feel like we had a system, that I was a system coach, that this position has to be this, or this height, this weight, this speed, and kind of get locked into it. Give us all explosive athletes we can find and it's on us as coaches to be creative."
Pettine's optimism might stem from what Pryor's been up to lately.
Since he signed with the club June 22, the 6-foot-4, 223-pounder has posted a bevy of pictures on social media of him working out as a wide receiver. Pryor has been training with future Hall of Famer Randy Moss, the Buccaneers' Mike Evans and even Cleveland's own Josh Gordon – all big receivers who have used their size to take over games.
A longtime quarterback, Pryor resisted switching positions for several years but finally relented after he was released by the Bengals earlier this offseason. After quarterbacking Ohio State with a stunning highlight reel, the Raiders selected Pryor in the third round of the NFL's 2011 supplemental draft.
Pryor started his first NFL game at quarterback in the Raiders' 2012 finale, was named the opening day starter in 2013 and went on to play in 11 games, tossing seven touchdowns, 11 interceptions and rushing for 53 yards a game.
Since that season, Pryor has bounced around with the Seahawks, Chiefs and Bengals, but he was cut from those teams as a quarterback, not as a wide receiver. After floating around with uncertainty for a season, Pryor's tone indicates he's a player who might have reignited his passion for football.
"I'm going to stay glued in and keep asking questions and anytime you think you know something, you really don't," Pryor recently told 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. "That's how I am. I'm a sponge."
So what exactly will the position change entail? Former All-Pro wide receiver Joey Galloway joined Cleveland Browns Daily on Friday and argued playing the position has so much more entailed than route-running and solid hands.
"Can he return a punt? Can he run down and tackle someone on a punt team?" Galloway said. "Those kinds of things make it even tougher.
"Going in the middle and catching the ball. When you go and guys are now hitting and it's noisy out there and guys are flying around, now you are asking a guy that has not done it to go and catch a football with a corner, a safety and a linebacker all trying to basically take his head off. That is something you won't be able to tell about a guy until he actually does it."
As Pettine glances at Pryor's name on his roster card, he can't help but think of a former player on the Jets: Brad Smith.
While Pettine was in New York, the Jets effectively used Smith as a receiver, return man and wildcat quarterback. The 31-year-old has scored 13 career touchdowns in a variety of ways and is currently a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Pettine said Pryor is very much in the mix at wide receiver.
"I see some similarities there, explosive athlete that made the transition and was able to help out the team in a lot of different ways," Pettine said.
Pryor and the rest of the veterans will report to Berea on Wednesday. Training camp begins Thursday. Click here for more information.