BEREA, Ohio (AP) – Terrelle Pryor took the handoff, set his feet and unloaded a deep pass that fluttered, floated and somehow landed in Travis Benjamin’s hands for a touchdown.
Pryor knew the trick-play toss would get poor reviews.
“They said it was wobbly and ugly,” Pryor joked. “They said I lost my QB skills. I told them I never had them. It was a duck, but it was a completion.”
And, not a bad one for a wide receiver.
Attempting the switch from NFL quarterback to receiver with the Browns, Pryor is making progress and believes his chances of making the roster are growing daily.
“It’s very realistic,” he said. “I’m pushing it and we’ll see, but I believe it’s very realistic and I believe I can make it happen with the way I work.”
Five practices into training camp, the Pryor experiment has gone better than expected. The former Oakland quarterback and Ohio State star has opened eyes with his athleticism, drawn praise for his work ethic and become the biggest story in camp – quite a contrast from last summer’s media circus when quarterback Johnny Manziel made headlines with every move on the field.
Pryor sustained a minor setback Tuesday when his right hamstring tightened. He spent the final hour of practice watching from the sideline with his leg wrapped. Afterward, the 6-foot-4, 223-pounder said he doesn’t believe the injury is serious and it’s possible he may sit out a day to rest.
“I didn’t really tweak it,” said Pryor, who felt his hamstring stiffen during a special team’s drill. “I just thought it would be best for me to pull out because obviously I’ve never played receiver, so I don’t even know what a hamstring pull is.”
Pryor doesn’t expect the injury to stop him from playing in the team’s instrasquad scrimmage Friday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. It will be his first visit to Ohio State since leaving amid an NCAA investigation into players selling memorabilia. As part of his penalty, Pryor was sent a disassociation letter from the school, banning him from several privileges, including using the Buckeyes’ facilities. However, he can participate as a member of the Browns.
As the days go on, his odds of making Cleveland’s roster seemingly rise.
Pryor’s skill set intrigued the Browns to claim him off waivers, and to this point, he has passed every test while learning a new position. He’s no longer a quarterback – in body or mind.
“I feel like I’m a receiver. I don’t drop balls. I pride myself on that,” said Pryor, who spends 10 minutes before each practice catching 100 balls – many of them with one hand – from the JUGs machine. “I’ve just got to keep on continuing on bettering my route game and also bettering knowing where to block on the run game. That stuff’s starting to come to me very good, too, so I definitely do feel like the transition’s going well.
“I can’t say I’m all the way there because I’m not.”
Pryor’s versatility gives him an advantage, which is why he felt good about his completion – warts and all – to Benjamin.
The more that he shows he can do, the better Pryor’s odds the Browns will give him a job. The trick play on an end-around was an example of how the Browns can use him, and his background with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo – they were together in Oakland – can only help.
“Anytime you can do different things, anytime you can go out of the box and put defenses on their heels, I think it’s great,” Pryor said.
NOTES: DL Billy Winn will be out at least a week with a sprained right ankle. Coach Mike Pettine expressed relief Winn did not hurt his knee. … Rookie RB Duke Johnson missed his third straight practice with a hamstring injury, and Cleveland’s backfield has already been ravaged by minor injuries with Terrance West (calf), Glenn Winston (knee) and FBs Luke Lundy (concussion) and Malcolm Johnson (shoulder) all sidelined. … CB Tramon Williams intercepted QB Josh McCown with a diving grab in the end zone. … TV actress Valerie Bertinelli visited camp, staying afterward to meet Pettine and get autographs from several players. She starred in “Hot in Cleveland” on TV Land for six season, which ended this year.
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