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What the Browns are looking for from WR Terrelle Pryor vs. the Bucs

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor returned to the practice field Wednesday after reinjuring his hamstring a week earlier in joint practices with the Bills.

Despite missing more than half of training camp and both preseason games thus far, the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Pryor has remained one of the most captivating names in Berea.

The Browns want to see if Pryor's hamstring responds well during practice Thursday before they give him the thumbs up for Saturday's game against the Buccaneers. Cleveland kept him on a pitch count at Wednesday's practice.

But if and when Pryor does suit up, the clock is ticking. It's prove-it mode.

"There's got to be a sense of urgency from Terrelle – and I'll be the first person to say that," said offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who coached Pryor at quarterback with the Oakland Raiders in 2012 and 2013.

If Pryor does see extensive playing time at Raymond James Stadium, it's likely he'll see passes from backup quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who, along with the coaches, sees the prowling potential. 

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"If you see guys like Calvin Johnson with his size in the uniform, that's one of the guys he resembles," Lewis said. "Obviously, Calvin Johnson is a special player but if he has the opportunity to continue to grow and develop into that, maybe he can be one of those guys."

Pryor will have to do more than win over Lewis to land on the 53-man roster.

Coach Mike Pettine is assisting on the offensive side of the ball in 2015. After spending countless hours this season meeting with each other, Pettine and DeFilippo have more than an inkling of how they'd like to use Pryor.

Cleveland's head coach has no reason to doubt Pryor's size, speed and even the trustworthy hands he's shown off in minimal action. For Pettine, it comes down to the finer intricacies of playing wide receiver in the NFL.

"I just think it is the details of each individual route," Pettine said during his press conference Wednesday. "What is the leverage of the defender? Are you pressed? Is he off? Is he inside of you? Is he outside of you? What is the coverage behind it? The route will change subtly based on what the coverage is, and I think it is just learning all those details."

A few days before training camp began in late July, Pettine told ClevelandBrowns.com there's always a place for explosive athletes on an NFL roster. Pettine even compared Pryor to Brad Smith, a versatile Swiss Army Knife for the Jets who scored touchdowns as a return man, receiver and wildcat quarterback.

But the cooling of the temperatures in Cleveland indicate that Sept. 1 and Sept. 5 will be arriving in a hurry. Both dates are when NFL teams submit cuts to the league office. Potential only gets you so far in professional football. Paraphrasing some of Pettine's favorite mantras, the NFL is a pass/fail league, and it's a league of what have you done for me lately.

"I don't worry about anything I can't control," Pryor said. "I just go out and make plays when I can and try to help the team to the best of my ability. I don't really worry about what coaches decide. I just know if I give my all, then that is my best chance."

The decision on his future may become clearer after Saturday.

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