Terrelle Pryor has shown some promise as a wide receiver this season, but the Cleveland Browns tried him at quarterback early on Sunday's game. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Cody Kessler got the start for the Browns, but it was a rough start for the rookie, who took a delay of game penalty before his first snap of the game, then followed it with a botched snap and a fumble on a sack. On the subsequent drive, Pryor saw several snaps, first running for 15 yards and then passing to Gary Barnidge for 26 yards. While he was nearly intercepted on a play shortly thereafter, he was able to move the Browns down the field while under center.
The Browns didn't just use him at quarterback, though. He also saw time at wide receiver, where he has been during his entire time with the team and even saw time on defense, helping Cleveland to defend against a Hail Mary in the final seconds of the first half.
Pryor, 27, entered the league as a quarterback after the Oakland Raiders picked him up in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft. At Ohio State, Pryor was widely regarded as one of the most dynamic QB's in college football. The high point of his career was probably the 2010 Rose Bowl, where he won MVP honors after leading the Buckeyes to a victory over the Oregon Ducks. The NCAA suspended him for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia, which he served during his rookie campaign.
Ironically, Hue Jackson, who now coaches Pryor in Cleveland, was also the head coach in Oakland when Pryor was acquired. Though the Raiders used Pryor under center only sporadically, Jackson said at the time he considered the All-American to be a quarterback.
After sitting on the bench for two seasons, Pryor began the 2013 campaign as the Raiders' starting quarterback. He completed just 57 percent of his passes in nine starts, but made an impact with his legs, running for 576 yards and two touchdowns –– including a 93-yard scamper.
But Pryor's career in Oakland came to an end after he sprained his MCL midway through that season. The Raiders traded him to the Seattle Seahawks the following offseason, where he was released following final roster cuts. Pryor didn't appear in another NFL game until he lined up as a wide receiver for the Browns at the end of last year. He caught a 42-yard bomb in the last game of the season.
Though Pryor entered training camp as a wide receiver, Jackson still said he was intrigued by the prospect of playing him at quarterback. "I've known him as a quarterback, and I think he's always had ability to play quarterback in the National Football League," he said at the AFC coaches breakfast this spring, via Cleveland.com.
Now, after totaling six receptions for 100 yards in the first two games of the season, Pryor got his chance under center thanks to a hellacious start to the season for the Browns' quarterback depth chart. Robert Griffin III, who exhibited signs of rebounding during a promising preseason, will miss at least eight weeks with a shoulder injury he suffered Week 1. Cleveland put him on injured reserve earlier this month.
Josh McCown, Griffin's backup, briefly left last Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens with a left shoulder injury. He reportedly fought to play against the Miami Dolphins this week, but the Browns said no. The 37-year-old veteran is expected to miss two to four weeks and the team signed veteran Charlie Whitehurst for insurance this week.