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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cleveland Browns Terrelle Pryor about to Get PAID

Terrelle Pryor quit being stubborn and it could result in $42M payoff

Charles Robinson,

The NFL definitively passed on Terrelle Pryor. Traded once. Waived four times. Unemployed for nearly three months of the 2015 season. He was even sent packing by five different teams, including the Cleveland Browns who are now seeing Pryor’s career as a wideout lift off.
Rest assured, that won’t happen again.
The guy who couldn’t land a minimum contract one year ago could end up being one of the hottest commodities of next offseason – if the Browns let him get that chance. Slated to become a free agent in March, Pryor could very well end up drawing a franchise tag. And if he doesn’t, a league source said the recent deal signed by Los Angeles Ramswideout Tavon Austin ($42 million over four years with more than $25 million guaranteed) would likely be this offseason’s negotiating touchstone.
Terrelle Pryor is one of the few bright spots in this 0-4 season for the Browns. (Getty Images)
Terrelle Pryor is one of the few bright spots in this 0-4 season for the Browns. (Getty Images)
All of that for a player who was scrambling to stay in the league a year ago.
Of course, those options depend on Pryor continuing his growth this season. Considering he has the full support of Browns head coach Hue Jackson as the team’s No. 1 wideout, that’s a solid bet. As it stands, Pryor’s early pace has him headed for a 1,000-yard season and he is seemingly making bigger strides with every game. And lately, he is a player teams have regretted passing on. As former New England Patriots executive Mike Lombardi said of the franchise missing on Pryor a year ago, “This league gives you a chance to get better. You just have to be willing to take advantage of it.”
That might end up being a shared sentiment for most NFL teams when it comes to Pryor, who had a remarkable number of doors closed in his face before this season’s blossoming in Cleveland. Multiple NFL executives who were in position to consider Pryor told Yahoo Sports the chief reason Pryor bounced around before finally settling in with Cleveland was of his own doing. Specifically, Pryor was stubborn in moving on from a starting quarterback dream (including 10 starts with the Oakland Raiders) that wasn’t going to happen.
He had plenty of opportunities, too. Beyond landing with five NFL teams – the Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals and Browns – Pryor had high-level workouts for six others, including the Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles (twice), New York Giants (twice), New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers. Beyond those 11 teams, the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills all did significant work leading up to the NFL supplemental draft in 2011, each giving serious thought to selecting Pryor that year.
Even Eagles coach Chip Kelly – who seemed to be a natural fit for Pryor’s versatile skills – passed on him after working him out as both a quarterback and a wide receiver. Much to the chagrin of some in the building who thought Pryor was worth a measured gamble.
How does a 6-foot-5 player with elite speed and dominant athleticism have such a hard time holding down an NFL job – or even getting a chance at one? The explanations are varied depending on who is answering the question, but there are two central themes: First, getting coaching staffs and executives to agree on signing a project player; Second, getting Pryor to understand that he was a far better wide receiver talent than a quarterback.
It was hard for Terrelle Pryor to shake his dream of being a long standing starting QB in the NFL. (Getty Images)
It was hard for Terrelle Pryor to shake his dream of being a long standing starting QB in the NFL. (Getty Images)
As one personnel evaluator said, “It’s not really a developmental league anymore, so there’s [not] the vision anymore for these kinds of projects. Probably the biggest thing is that he got an opportunity. With [Josh] Gordon out and [the] Browns depleted, [that] opened a door for him. … Again, getting a shared vision between coaching and scouting on a project [player] is tough. Almost out of necessity – and what do they have to lose – [that] allowed it to happen in Cleveland.”
Pryor had to be on board for it to work, too. And in the past, that wasn’t happening.
“He made it clear several times – and his people made it clear – that he didn’t want to be a receiver,” said one executive whose team seriously considered Pryor after he was released by the Seahawks. “I thought, and our coaches thought, ‘There’s a place for you to be a receiver on this level.’ But it was like he didn’t even want to hear it. It was a quarterback conversation or nothing else, and so that’s what he got for a while – nothing. … I don’t want to really bust on him for going after [quarterback] until it was exhausted, but I think if he would have listened to teams before the [supplemental] draft, we might be talking about him being a top 10 receiver in the league right now. But he was stubborn and sacrificed some of his career. He probably sacrificed some money, too.”
That last part – Pryor’s stubbornness – is a common theme. One league source told Yahoo Sports that multiple NFL teams asked Pryor about moving to wideout after departing Ohio State. And several executives said he was asked again between NFL stops over the past several seasons, but that Pryor continually stated that he wanted a shot at a starting quarterback job. It ultimately undid him in Oakland and Seattle, where he was phased out of the plans. One league source said he wasn’t deemed the right “fit” for the Chiefs, while the Bengals’ hopes eventually faded on his developmental prospects.
It wasn’t until June of 2015, when Drew Rosenhaus, Pryor’s agent, informed teams that his client was making a dedicated move to wide receiver, that the door to some franchises was cracked open again. Even that came with reservations.
One team that worked out Pryor as a wide receiver still questioned his motivation at the position – specifically whether it was just a means to earning a paycheck.
“It was, ‘Is he just holding on, or is he going to really work hard at it,'” said one league source whose team worked out Pryor following the move to wideout but ultimately didn’t sign him. “For us – and I think it’s like this for most teams – there wasn’t a lot of time to wait around on him turning into a contributor. He needed to make up ground fast, and to be frank, there were some split opinions on him.”
The executive noted another thing that stuck in his mind: Pryor had once made remarks about questioning his love for football during his rookie season. And that was hard for this particular executive to forget.
Pryor told Sports Illustrated in 2012: “There was a point – and I know it seems crazy – but there was a point I was asking myself if I really loved this game anymore. That’s where I was at [emotionally]. Throughout the whole season I wasn’t playing, I wasn’t getting no love toward me. I just felt some type of way. I started questioning myself, even though I shouldn’t have. I was like, ‘Do I even love this game? Do I want to play this game? Is this what I want to do?'”
While Pryor was being honest, that’s the kind of thing that gets filed away – a 23-year-old player talking about getting “love” toward himself and also admitting questions about his passion for the game. That’s the kind of stuff that decision makers revisit down the line.
Thankfully for Pryor’s sake, time and rare skills provide for many NFL opportunities. That and the Browns needing to explore every talented player available have paid dividends for both. Where it goes after this depends on the remainder of Pryor’s season. But one thing is certain: Given another chance to sign him in free agency, the rest of the NFL won’t be turning its back on Pryor again.

Now that the Cleveland Browns have lost ten consecutive games, many fans are used to losing every Sunday, and expect nothing more from the team.

As a result of a continued, established losing tradition, Cleveland Browns fans have become complacent. For many, it is a matter of when and how the Browns will find a way to lose, not if. Following their latest heartbreaking lossto the Washington Redskins, fans feel numb, as they have gotten used to the feeling of losing and expect nothing different.
What is often lost in all the discussion surrounding these defeats is just how close the Browns keep coming to winning. After all, they have now blown legitimate opportunities to win in the closing minutes of each of the last three contests.
We need not look any further than this past Sunday’s game, as it sums up the numb feeling many Browns fans have at this point. Based on the final score, 31-20, or the three-minute highlight clip, the average casual football fan would come up with a much different conclusion than someone who viewed the entirety of Sunday’s game.
Head coach Hue Jackson‘s decision to hand the ball to Malcolm Johnson as the Browns had the ball inside the red zone late in the third quarter proved costly in Cleveland’s latest defeat. If Jackson were to instead elect to continue running with Isaiah Crowell, it is quite possible that the Browns would have had a 27-17 lead that would never have been relinquished.
Of course, one can never say for sure if the outcome of the game would have been any different as a direct result of an alternate play selection, but what is undeniable is that the Browns were very close to taking command of Sunday’s game. But instead of coming away with the victory, it was once again a loss, and many Browns fans continue to pin the team’s failure on what they see as a “cursed” franchise, or the “same old Browns.”
The point of all of this is not to dwell on the past, but to point out a widespread misconception. The Browns organization has been scorned, mocked and labeled a joke for quite some time now. Unfortunately, fans are at the point where many of them join in and promote this sort of falsity that the Browns are cursed and will never find success. This is a direct result of complacency which is taking over in many instances, and understandably so. Browns fans have been constantly exposed to difficult losses, and the trend leads to the drastic lowering of expectations.
When taking a serious look at the beginning of this season though, were these first four losses really solely a result of a rebuilding process still in its early stages? Usually rebuilding processes don’t require fluke moments or terrible decisions which directly impact the outcome of a given game. The truth is, the Browns have played well enough to win three out of their first four games. Therefore, even if the team is in the midst of a rebuilding process, fans shouldn’t lower their expectations as much as they seem to have done.
This isn’t to say that fans should not exercise patience with a rebuilding organization, as the Browns clearly lack many necessary pieces to becoming a winning organization. Yet when expectations are no longer that the Browns will struggle in certain areas, but that the team will always find a way to lose, a line has been crossed.
There is no reason to believe that the Browns could not have won their Week 4 matchup with the Redskins. There is no reason to believe that it was Cleveland’s destiny to miss a potential game-winning field goal in Miami, or to suffer from a controversial Duke Johnson fumble, or that the team is simply incapable of holding on to a twenty-point advantage. This is still a football team. They still have eleven players on each side of the ball, each giving their all, trying to end up with more points than the opposition.
The Browns can win games and have shown us that they have to potential do so. Whether or not they actually will or not in the near future has yet to be seen, but there’s no logical reason to dismiss the possibility of future victories because of the nature of the organization alone or its history.
There is a major difference between expecting the team to struggle and expecting the team to downright lose. Over the course of the last three games, it has been made apparent that the Browns have the skill to compete and defeat some NFL teams. The fact that they haven’t is the result of several different factors, but it’s not that they just can’t win.
Sports media and other NFL fans will continue beating up on the Browns. After all, they are easy to pick on. But in the midst of all of this, Browns fans must remember that their team is capable of winning. They’re not cursed. Losing has become the norm, but it doesn’t have to be. There is no legitimate reason for it to be the expectation based on how the team has performed the past four weeks.
So Browns fans need to keep their heads up. Maybe victories are coming. They would be well-deserved and long overdue if they did. But for now, all of this nonsense about it being in the very nature of the Browns to lose or that losing is just a normal part of a Cleveland fan’s Sunday afternoon is getting ridiculous. Complacency is getting ridiculous.

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