Pryor, Tressel reunited at Hempfield workout
Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel were reunited Saturday, but it wasn't quite like old times.
Pryor, a former Ohio State quarterback, worked out for 17 NFL teams at Hempfield as a prelude to Monday's supplemental draft. The Jeannette native wowed the crowd with his speed, athletic ability and arm strength.
Tressel, his former coach with the Buckeyes, was there to lend moral support along with dozens of Pryor's friends and family members.
"Did great," Tressel said as he hustled off the field. "He'll help some teams."
Perhaps, but this wasn't part of the original script. Both were supposed to be back in Columbus, Ohio, preparing for a run at the national title. But this was before an NCAA investigation forced Tressel to quit in May and caused Pryor to leave school a week later to try his hand at the pros.
"He's gonna move on — I know Ohio State people don't like to hear it — but to bigger and better things," Jeannette coach Roy Hall said.
Pryor's eligibility for the supplemental draft remained uncertain until Thursday. But he also was suspended by the NFL for the first five weeks of the regular season for his college transgressions.
Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, quickly put together a pro day on short notice, and it went as planned in front of scouts, Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and a late-arriving Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
"It was fun," Pryor said.
He also said he won't appeal the NFL suspension, as one of his lawyers suggested he might.
"I will serve it, along with my senior Buckeye buddies," said Pryor. "I did a wrong thing when I was young."
Pryor and several Ohio State teammates were suspended last December for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia in 2009-10, an NCAA violation. The NFL, in an unprecedented move, transferred the suspension to his new team. Pryor can practice during the preseason, but cannot practice or play during the regular season until Week 6.
Sprinting on soft Field Turf, Pryor's fastest clocking in the 40-yard-dash was 4.38 seconds, blazing for a quarterback, especially one who measures just under 6-foot-5 and weighs 231 pounds. He also skied 31 inches on his vertical leap, improvised on a stadium wall with chalk on his fingers, drawing oohs from those watching.
But mainly he was there to pass. Pryor threw to receivers who varied from former Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith to a landscaper who played at Jeannette before Pryor. He missed on just three of 50 passes thrown from a variety of distances.
"I wanted to get 50," he said. "I could've and should've."
Former Bengals star quarterback Ken Anderson, who has been tutoring Pryor the past few months, coordinated the passing drills.
"I thought he showed good feet and good arm strength," said Anderson, a recent Steelers assistant coach. "Like all young quarterbacks he has to go out and play football. But he showed what his potential could be."
Rosenhaus has called Pryor a "first-round talent" as a quarterback. Other, perhaps more objective assessments have him going in the middle rounds. There also has been speculation Pryor might be asked to play another position, such as tight end.
"I'd like the opportunity to play quarterback, but I'll do anything the team needs me to do to win," he told the assembled media.
Later, speaking to a smaller group of reporters, Pryor made his intentions clear.
"I'm not open to other positions, at all," he said. "When I get on a team going in, I want to be a quarterback. But if there were to be a change, because there's another quarterback on the team that's been there and I need to go somewhere to win, just for me sacrificing myself to help the team win, I'll do that.
"I'm a quarterback at heart. Like I told the guys when they were interviewing me, give me a chance and I don't think I'll let you down, and I don' t think you'll be disappointed in me at quarterback, at all. That's exactly what I told them.
"But I also said because I'm so far behind, if you want me to do some things and get on the field where I play quarterback or somewhere else, if you feel that it's best to win, I'm all about winning."