Pryor shines in return to Ohio Stadium as WR

Published 10:59 pm Saturday, August 6, 2016

COLUMBUS (AP) — The Cleveland Browns’ annual scrimmage at Ohio Stadium on Saturday turned into a happy homecoming for Terrelle Pryor, the former Ohio State quarterback turned Browns receiver.

Returning to the stadium where he starred in college from 2008-10, Pryor caught six passes in the team’s Orange and Brown scrimmage, including a touchdown pass each from quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown.

He got a huge cheer each time from the Columbus crowd, and after the last reception — a 75-yard touchdown streak down the right sideline — he turned to the stands to lead the 42,310 fans in an O-H-I-O cheer.

Email newsletter signup

Just like the old days — at least the days before he departed amid a memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal that led to the ouster of coach Jim Tressel and Pryor being banned from campus for five years.

“Playing here is electric, you know?” he said afterward.

“Football is football, no matter where it’s at,” he said.

“It all feels the same. I know this is the most amazing crowd here, and Browns fans are pretty awesome as well, but football is football. When (I’m) between the lines, I don’t hear anything. I’m focused on the guy who is trying to stop me, and I’m coming for him. That’s it.”

Browns coach Hue Jackson said he’s pleased with how hard Pryor has worked to learn his new position. His progress toward that conversion was interrupted by a nagging hamstring injury last year. He’s now trying to lock down one of the roster spots.

“He’s done a tremendous job,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of guys I can say that about, but he’s taken this opportunity and is trying to make the most of it. He’s worked extremely hard.”

Griffin also raved about Pryor.

“He’s a big guy, physical,” Griffin said. “He’s got an elite trait that you can’t coach, and that’s size. He’s been able to utilize that while he’s been in camp and in the spring. We love the progress that he’s made.”

Pryor said it felt good to be welcomed back to the Ohio State campus now the ban has been lifted. It was still in effect last year, but he was given permission to participate in the Browns scrimmage at the stadium.

“All I’ve heard is positive vibes,” he said. “Guys make mistakes and whatever. I can go into that blah-blah story again, but it is what it is. It’s life, and there’s still the next chapter.”


Jackson said he’s close to selecting a starter for Friday’s exhibition opener against Green Bay. It’s expected to be Griffin, who was 12 for 19 with two touchdowns in Saturday’s no-tackle scrimmage, but Jackson has yet to say so for sure. Griffin is competing with McCown, Austin Davis and rookie Cody Kessler for the spot.

“We’ll know here pretty soon exactly what we’re doing,” Jackson said. “I think everybody is seeing him get better and better every day. I’m not surprised. We’re trying to create the right environment for him to be all that he can be, and I think he’s working hard.”

Griffin, who was sharp in practice all week, is saying all the right things.

“It’s just about coming out every day and proving it,” he said. “We want to make sure everybody earns their spot, earns their keep and that’s everybody’s goal every time they step out on the field.”

McCown, who played in eight games and threw for 2,109 yards with 12 touchdowns for the Browns in 2015, has been the subject of trade talk involving the Dallas Cowboys, who are interested in him as a backup to Tony Romo.


The Browns had a full-contact scrimmage on Friday night before traveling to Columbus for the Saturday workout, which was more of a show for the Columbus fans than a nuts-and-bolts practice. Jackson said the travel was a dry run for the trip to Green Bay to play the first exhibition game.

“I thought it was important for our team to really get ready for next Friday,” he said. “I thought we had a hard night last night and we came back today, and I wanted to prepare them for what we were going to face next week as far as being on the road, understanding how we go through our process preparing for a game, and I thought they handled that part of it well.”


Follow Mitch Stacy at