Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Better to Receive the Switch from Quarterback to Wr Pays off for Browns' Terrelle Pryor

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Better to Receive the Switch from Quarterback to Wr Pays off for Browns' Terrelle Pryor

Article excerpt

At 18, Terrelle Pryor was a Parade All-American and the Parade national player of the year as a quarterback at Jeannette High School. At 19, he was the starting quarterback as a true freshman at Ohio State. At 23, he was the starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.

It was a storybook beginning for the kid from Westmoreland County, but there wasn't a storybook ending. At 26, after being cut by his fifth NFL team, Pryor was out of the NFL. The Raiders gave up on him as a quarterback and stints with the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns led nowhere.

One year ago, he was working out in Greensburg, staying in shape and hoping he could resume his NFL career. Pryor was reinventing himself as a receiver. In the mornings, he worked out in Penn Township, where former Toledo receiver Tim Cortazzo trained him. In the afternoons, he made his way to Greensburg, where he ran laps, rode the stationary bike and drew quizzical looks from others.

"I think it was pretty much known I was released and fighting to get back in the league," Pryor said Wednesday afternoon. "At the end of the day, I think, in some ways, I inspire people. You may fail, but, if you keep putting your head down and grind, you win."

Pryor isn't winning in Cleveland, where the Steelers play Sunday, but he has earned his way back into the NFL. A little more than a year after learning how to play receiver, he leads the Browns with 51 catches for 627 yards and four touchdowns. He is ranked 22nd in the NFL in receiving, ahead of the likes of Kelvin Benjamin, Brandon Marshall and Allen Robinson.

There haven't been many bright spots for the winless Browns this season, but they might have stumbled onto a franchise receiver.

"I didn't see this coming in a million years," Pryor said. "I'm grateful and excited."

At 6 feet 4, 230 pounds, Pryor had the size to make the transition. And anyone who watched him run away from the competition in high school, college or in the NFL knew he had the athleticism. But Pryor wanted to exhaust his opportunities to play quarterback in the NFL, so he delayed the move until last summer. …

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