Pryor completing transition from QB to receiver
BEREA (AP) — Racing downfield after cruising past the cornerback, Terrelle Pryor dove forward and grasped the ball with his fingertips as he fell to the turf.
Fans watching at training camp cheered the 50-yard reception, as Pryor got up from the ground and spiked the ball to the turf, before jogging back downfield and bumping chests with Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III.
The excitement emanating from Pryor was evident, as it has been for entirety of his second training camp with the Browns.
After a year spent struggling with the transition from passer to pass-catcher, he’s finally starting to feel like a real wide receiver.
“To actually be out there battling with corners and being able to beat corners man to man and getting off press pretty easy now. … I’m very excited,” Pryor said. “This game is the love of my life.”
Pryor initially made the move from quarterback to receiver in training camp with Cleveland a year ago, but had a nagging hamstring strain that kept him out of all but one exhibition game.
The Browns added Pryor to the 53-man roster out of camp, but cut him before the team’s first regular-season game, only to bring him back for the final five games of the season.
After the roller-coaster season, Pryor spent time this summer working on his skills as a wide receiver with former Vikings star Randy Moss and current Browns quarterback Josh McCown in Charlotte, N.C.
“Terrelle came down there and worked his tail off,” McCown said. “He’s turning over every rock to make sure he can find a way to get himself better and it’s a hats-off and a credit to him because he wants it.”
From what Pryor has shown thus far in camp, Browns coach Hue Jackson thinks the training has paid off.
“He made the transition from quarterback to receiver,” Jackson said. “He’s handled it very well. I’m very proud of what he’s doing.”
As head coach of the Raiders in 2011, Jackson drafted Pryor — then a quarterback — and the two maintained a good relationship as they met again with the Bengals.
Now together for the third time in Cleveland, Pryor and Jackson are providing help to each other.
In Pryor, Jackson has a player that understands his offense and can teach it to Cleveland’s group of receivers that includes first-round pick Corey Coleman and the recently reinstated Josh Gordon.
“Sometimes, he’ll just tell me, ‘Terrelle, shut up. Don’t answer this,”’ Pryor said of Jackson. “It’s because I know this stuff pretty good. I’m excited just to get the guys sped up, or if the guys have any questions, I’m here to help in any way.”
In Jackson, Pryor has a coach who believes in his talent and views him as a potentially big piece of the Browns’ offense this season.
“There are a lot of different things that we’ll do with Terrelle because I think he’s very talented,” Jackson said. “We’ll just continue to find different ways to have him make a difference on our offensive football team.”
One of the ways in which Jackson will use Pryor involves the receiver undergoing yet another transition, though this move isn’t a switch in positions.
Rather, Pryor is switching from one side of the field to the other, moving from the “X” receiver to the “Z” receiver, where he’ll be lined up often next to the tight end.
The receiver isn’t at all concerned about switching sides, so long as he can still be on the field.
“I just want to go and help however I can, be a playmaker,” Pryor said. “Put me on the field, I’m going to make a play and that’s got to be my mindset. That’s what I want to do. That’s my ultimate goal.”
NOTES: Pro Bowl TE Gary Barnidge (sports hernia) was held out of practice as he recovers from surgery. . OT Joe Thomas and DE Paul Kruger were at practice, but did not participate as they were given a veteran’s day off. . The Browns held a nine-minute hitting period, but left the first and second-team players on the sidelines in an effort to get younger players involved. . Jackson said the team will host a scrimmage in Berea on Friday before playing an intrasquad “mock game” at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday.
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
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