BEREA— Terrelle Pryor stood in front of his corner locker on Wednesday afternoon, hidden from the large media contingency that waltzed about the Browns locker room.
A couple of reporters trickled over to see what Pryor was doing, until the wide receiver was asked to step out into the middle of the room, so that all could see him through their own eyes or through the lens of a camera.
That sequence of events could mirror Pryor’s time with the Browns to this point, should he take the field for Cleveland against the Jets on Sunday.
Everyone has seen a glimpse of Pryor as a wide receiver, but some are clamoring, asking him to step into the limelight and become a producer.
One of the aforementioned “some” is Browns head coach, Mike Pettine.
“Terrelle is here because he showed that promise and that potential, but, I said once you make the 53, that you have to be a productive member of the team,” Pettine said. “It’s hard to just have that be a project for a year, so we are looking for the returns on the investment to be sooner than later.”
Pryor too understands that he has to produce, but seems to be confident in his ability to do so, thanks to the support of the coaching staff.
“It's a blessing for the coaching staff, coach Pett and (wide receivers coach) Joker (Phillips) and Ray Farmer and the line up to the top of the front office to give me the opportunity and I won't let them down,” Pryor said. “I just believe in what the coaches' believe, so I'm just going to prove them right.”
While part of Pryor’s confidence comes his coaches, it also comes from a mindset he’s taken over the years.
“I think for me, anytime I get on the field, I want to make some type of play to change the game. I go hard and I work my butt off,” Pryor said. “I think my mentality is just a killer instinct. Whoever’s in front of me, I try to embarrass him. I try do whatever I possibly can to beat that guy and don’t let him stop me.”
Another thing working in Pryor’s favor is the fact that “that guy” he mentioned is often one of the better defensive backs in the league-- Joe Haden.
Facing Haden and the Browns secondary has Pryor feeling that he’s prepared to take on just about any corner he faces.
“I go against those guys every day. Today, I probably had like 15-20 reps against Joe. I think the magnitude of his athletic ability and his prowess as a corner, he's just a phenomenal athlete and a phenomenal cornerback,” Pryor said. “Working with him and getting some good work with him, when I'm ready, I'll be ready for anybody I feel like.”
Though he’s spent most of his time facing corners as a wide receiver, Pryor saw time behind center in his first and only preseason action against the Bears this past Thursday night.
While he’d like to avoid being a gadget player, Pryor feels that he still has to prove himself at receiver before he can take exception to lining up behind center, looking to run and not throw.
“I think when the numbers break down, you've got to do that to help the team until you prove yourself. This league's all about proving yourself,” Pryor said. “I just think some of the best receivers that I did research on, some of the guys did the same stuff as I'm doing, playing special teams and doing stuff, and then eventually they got to where they're at and they didn't have to do it. That’s not where I’m at. I still got a lot of stuff I’ve still got to prove.”
That is indeed the case, as Pryor has yet to catch a pass in a game for the Browns, but he also is blessed with speed and athleticism not possessed by many.
That, more so than much else, has allowed him to have the opportunity at hand.
"I really think at the end of the day, an athlete's going to be an athlete -- period. So if you're athletic and you're an athlete, with the right coaching, which I have,” Pryor said. “I'm an athlete. I hold myself to the highest standard, and I'm sure the coaches do as well. So that's all I'm trying to do is get better every day and work on my craft.”
As hard as he may work and athletic as he may be, the Terrelle Pryor experiment will only be considered a success when he makes plays.
Will those plays be made?
Well, Pryor said it himself.
“We'll have to find out when we get on the field, right?”