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Terrelle Pryor: Raiders want me as QB

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor signed autographs in Steelers' territory Saturday afternoon.

The former Jeannette High School and Ohio State superstar was at Westmoreland Mall near Greensburg signing photos, jerseys and other memorabilia during a two-hour session. With a wide grin, Pryor shook hands, poised for pictures and talked to hundreds of fans waiting to see him -- all for a fee that started at $30.

Pryor is about to begin his second season in the NFL, and he enters it as a quarterback. He dismissed rumors that the Raiders organization, which selected him Aug. 23 in the third round of the supplemental draft, asked him to switch positions.

"I haven't heard them," Pryor said about the rumors. "That's not even a question. I'm still working to become the best quarterback."

Pryor spent his first season in Oakland watching and learning from the sidelines.

He got on the field for one play, but the Raiders were penalized before the snap and Pryor returned to the sidelines. The game was Oct. 23 against Kansas City.

"I had a whole package for that game," Pryor said. "I was going to make a bunch of throws, but we ended up getting smashed and I was yanked. Who knows where it would have gone• I'm confident I would have been successful during that time. We were down, 21-0, and we didn't run any plays."

Pryor missed the first five games of the season; the NFL honored the NCAA's suspension levied when he was at Ohio State. He also missed much of training camp while waiting for the NFL to make a decision that allowed Pryor to enter the supplemental draft.

He said it was tough not being able to learn with the Raiders during that five-week period. He didn't get paid, and he couldn't have any contact with the coaches.

"The suspension put me way behind," Pryor said. "But the future is bright, and I'm living in the future."

After the season, Oakland fired coach Hue Jackson. The Raiders hired Dennis Allen to replace him.

Even though Pryor said he felt Jackson wanted Pryor to be successful, he's excited about the new coaching staff.

"I'm getting a fresh start with the new staff coming in," Pryor said. "I'm going to learn the new system just like all the other quarterbacks. All I'm just looking for is a fair shot."

Pryor will be competing against veteran quarterback Carson Palmer -- who the Raiders acquired during the season -- and Rhett Bomar.

"The new staff told us that all positions are open, so you have to battle for the position you want," Pryor said. "There is going to be some good competition. Once you get the position, you have to keep fighting for it.

"Like Tom Brady said, he felt he had to work hard every day, like he was going to lose his job. That's what gives him that edge that he never wanted to be behind someone. That quote right there lifted me up and picked up my spirits. To hear him say that makes me work extra hard."

Because of NFL rules, Pryor can't learn anything from his new coaches until the team officially begins practice in late April.

"I can go in and talk to the coaches, but it can't be about football," Pryor said. "I knew the coaches are eager to get started, and so am I.

"I've been working out with (Raiders teammates) Darren McFadden, Jacoby Ford and Taiwan Jones. I'm training hard, and I'm looking at film. It's good to be in there and have chemistry with my teammates. To see how hard they work, it pushed me to work even harder."

One of the biggest things Pryor learned during his first season was about the speed of defensive linemen and cornerbacks.

"I wanted to experience the difference between the college and pro levels," Pryor said.

One coach that Pryor learned a lot from was Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown. He said Brown was always confident and supportive.

The Steelers and Raiders are scheduled to play in Oakland this season. Pryor said he'd love to be the starting quarterback in that game.

"They better hope I'm not playing," he laughed.

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