For a while, it appeared the Raiders had stumbled into greatness in 2013.
Terrelle Pryor, who’d been a largely forgotten man on the Raiders bench, won Oakland’s starting quarterback job and brought a dynamic element the team hadn’t seen in a long time.
In Game 1, he completed 19-of-29 throws for 217 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 112 yards as the Raiders just missed a victory over the Colts in Indianapolis. The next week, he led a victory over the Jaguars. In Week 4, he was often brilliant in a victory over the Chargers, completing 18-of-23 throws and compiling a quarterback rating of 135.7. Two weeks later, he ran for a 93-yard TD in a win over the Steelers.
Though he wasn’t a finished product, Pryor showed he could be a leader, had markedly improved his passing technique and was intent on proving so many analysts and scouts wrong that he’d never be an NFL quarterback.
Then, the season for Pryor and the Raiders went south. He was injured, missed some time, the offensive line faltered and Pryor was under constant siege. After losing his job to undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, the writing was on the wall:
Pryor’s time had come … and quickly gone.
Now, reports are that Pryor will be traded or released in April. With Matt Schaub acquired last week to be the No. 1 quarterback and McGloin set as his backup (for now), even veteran free agent Trent Edwards apparently is above Pryor on the team’s quarterback pecking order. Plus, the Raiders are likely to take a quarterback in the draft as well.
General manager Reggie McKenzie told columnist Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group this week that Pryor’s agent has talked to him about his situation, and asked to be given the opportunity to compete for a starting job with another team.
“Terrelle wants to start so bad,” McKenzie told Kawakami. “I’ll visit with (Pryor) and we’ll talk to him, and we’ll move on from there.”
Under the right circumstances, it appeared last season that Pryor might evolve into a playmaker in the NFL; that his combination of physical skills and work ethic – he’s worked very hard over his offseasons to improve his throwing skills – would finally pay off for both he and the Raiders.
Now, however, if Pryor is to become an NFL success story, it’s going to be with another team. The experiment in Oakland was brief, and now it will be over.
A report by Fox Sports Wednesday said McKenzie has been getting calls from other teams about Pryor’s availability. Now, the only benefit Pryor may bring the Raiders is a late-round draft choice.