BEREA— It’s not often that any NFL player says that his release was a “blessing,” but Terrelle Pryor is certainly not any NFL player.
Pryor is an NFL player attempting to make the rare switch from starting quarterback to wide receiver.
That decision was made by Pryor when he signed with the Browns before Training Camp, but after he was cut by Cleveland on September 7, he made the most of being forced away from the field.
“I'm kind of glad that happened,” Pryor said. “It's the first time I really had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with my son, so I think I actually got to really know him real well.”
If there’s anything more important to Pryor than football, it’s his 16-month old son, Terrelle II—something he failed to realize before the Browns unknowingly gave him the opportunity to revisit his values.
Having the time to finally bond with his boy, Pryor was thrilled when Terrelle II pointed to a picture of him and referred to him as “Daddy.”
That’s when it hit him that being a father meant more than anything else.
“That's what's more important to me. The most important thing to me is my son,” Pryor said. “Having all this time off, we became real good, real close… I’m happy about that.”
While Pryor took the free time to cherish the biggest blessing in his life, he also spent his time looking for another NFL opportunity.
Though about ten teams came calling for Pryor and his services, none decided to bring him aboard.
Rather than to be discouraged, Pryor continued to learn the nuances of the receiver position and, in doing so, stayed in great shape.
“I know there was going to be an opportunity coming at some point,” Pryor said. “I ran about 40 routes four times a week after I did cone drills and stuff like that. I stayed on top of it… I had an awful lot of time to understand the routes and try to be a little savvy with my routes and stuff like that.”
Pryor can say that he’s in great shape, but it’s another thing to prove that he’s in shape.
After signing with the Browns again on Wednesday and going through a pair of practices, it’s clear that his statement is reality.
“He’s in shape,” wide receiver Brian Hartline confirmed. “A lot of times, you see guys that are off for a while— not that they mean to— but they get out of shape… It looks like he’s leading off right where he left.”
Where Pryor left the Browns was somewhat in a somewhat bitter state, saying to cleveland.com that the Browns would regret the decision to cut him.
It remains unclear if that’s the case, but it’s now Pryor that regrets what he said.
“Definitely wasn’t the right way to do it,” Pryor said, about his post-cut comments. “Life, you get better with how you grow.”
Pryor may regret his words, but Browns head coach Mike Pettine understood how he felt at the time.
“I know what he said on the way out that – I forget exactly what it was but it was born from his competitiveness – he thought he could get it done and wasn’t thrilled with being let go,” Pettine said. “It was something where I had a meeting with him and we looked him in the eye and said this isn’t a one-way street and there is a chance down the road that this could happen again.”
Of course, the subject of that meeting became reality and now that Pryor is back in the fold, Pettine is very much looking forward to what he can bring over the last five weeks of the season.
“He’ll get a month’s work at the position. Hopefully, he can contribute,” Pettine said. “If not, (he will) continue to develop and build some momentum towards the offseason.”
With the past in the past, Pryor is grateful to be back with the Browns in Berea and grateful as well that things have worked out in this specific manner.
“I’m thankful for it. I learned a lesson. It was a humbling experience,” Pryor said. “I think it’s God’s will I’m back here and I look forward to being here.”
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.