- The Washington Times
Thursday, September 21, 2017

ASHBURN — Terrelle Pryor found love — and then was dumped. Three times in less than a year.

No, it wasn’t a girl that broke his heart — he made sure to point out that didn’t happen. It was the NFL teams that acquired Pryor, then a quarterback, only to release him.

After three forgettable years in Oakland, including nine games as the Raiders’ starting quarterback in 2013, Pryor was traded to the Seattle Seahawks — who waived him before the start of the 2014 season.

The Kansas CIty Chiefs signed him in January 2015, but cut him in May. His last stint at quarterback was with the Bengals that same year, signing in May before being cut in June.

“It was like, ‘Damn, they don’t want me,” Pryor said.

That was when the former Ohio State star realized he had to switch from quarterback to wide receiver if he wanted to stay in the NFL. 

“It builds confidence,” Pryor said of his experience in Oakland. “When bad things happen to me, from playing quarterback, I’ve been through that road. It’s nothing. You just move on, get to the next day … and all things come to light eventually.”

Pryor is grateful, though, for the opportunity. The Raiders picked up Pryor n the supplemental draft after he was ruled ineligible at OU for allegedly selling memorabilia. The NFL also suspended Pryor the first five games of the year for the same controversy.

“It meant a lot [being drafted], especially from a guy, I heard it all came from Mr. Al Davis,” Pryor said. “For it to come like that, a guy who has done everything in this league, it’s phenomenal.”

The Raiders won’t be a “revenge game” for Pryor, who has eight receptions for 97 yards in two games this season. He said facing Oakland is motivation, but said the position switch changes things. Sure, Pryor might have once been motivated to throw for 400 yards against a former team. But he’s not a quarterback anymore.

Instead, Pryor is trying to contribute at receiver. The timing with quarterback Kirk Cousins is still a work in progress, though Pryor says he isn’t worried.

He referenced Brandin Cooks and Alshon Jeffery as other wideouts who switched teams in the offseason and are still developing chemistry with their quarterbacks.

He guaranteed the Cousins-to-Pryor connection is coming.

In the meantime, Pryor said he’s willing to do whatever is asked of him. Against the Rams, the Redskins ran the ball 39 times and the receivers had to block.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he challenges the receiver group to be effective in the run game.

“All those guys are expected to block and will block on my watch,” Gruden said.

Pryor said the most enjoyable aspect of the Rams game was opening holes for the Redskins’ breakout star this season: running back Chris Thompson.

Blocking for others is a far cry from his time at quarterback, but Pryor said he doesn’t have time to reflect on those days — and he adds that he doesn’t miss lining up under center. Besides being, say, the president, he said, the position is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

“He has three seconds to get rid of the ball or you’ve got guys like Aaron Donald, [Khalil] Mack, the list goes on, Von Miller, hitting you in your face,” Pryor said. “That’s pretty hard. And you have to throw it accurate or a guy’s going to pick you off, and then you’re going to get talked about bad.”

He recalled seeing Cousins getting hit and thinking, “man, I don’t miss that.”

It’s been a couple of years, though, since Pryor has had to worry about any of that. These days, Pryor is focused on being a No. 1 receiver.

“I’m pretty excited right now,” Pryor said. “I’m feeling good.”

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