The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently hurting at the wide receiver position and Terrelle Pryor would like to help. Pryor, a veteran receiver who hasn’t played since sustaining an injury during his brief time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, is interested in signing with the Steelers, who lost receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson to concussions during Thursday night’s loss to the Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh also placed fellow wide receiver Ryan Switzer on injured reserve last week.
A former 1,000-yard receiver, Pryor grew up in Jeanette, about 30 miles from Pittsburgh.
“[Nine] years in. Ready to play for the home crowd,” Pryor recently published on his Instagram account. “I’m not playing ball unless it’s [with] my home team. Turned down teams weeks ago. Money ain’t my motivation. Bringing the chip here again is. I’m finally healthy. [Kevin] Colbert let’s go!
“[Ten] targets a game I’ll look like a Pro Bowler. [One] a game I’ll play the team game. Whatever it takes.”
This isn’t the first time Pryor has lobbied to join the Steelers. This past offseason, before the team traded away star wide receiver Antonio Brown, Pryor told SportsRadio610 that he had interested in coming back to Pittsburgh.
“I believe if I played with them … I’d be right back on the map,” he said. “I would help JuJu [Smith-Schuster] and AB [Antonio Brown] and some of their younger guys, bring my experience. There are a couple of other teams that would be great fits, but definitely would love that opportunity, especially to play for a coach like Coach Tomlin, that would be awesome.”
Pryor, 30, broke into the NFL in 2011 after a stellar collegiate career at Ohio State, where he starred with current Pittsburgh defensive end, Cam Heyward. As the Buckeyes’ signal caller, Pryor earned Rose Bowl MVP honors during his sophomore season while helping Ohio State defeat Oregon. The following season, Pryor led Ohio State to a 12-1 record that included a victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. In three seasons with the Buckeyes, Pryor completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 6,177 yards with 57 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He also rushed for 2,164 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
After playing sparingly as a rookie in 2011, Pryor earned his first career start for the Oakland Raiders in 2012, throwing two touchdowns and an interception over three games. Pryor went 3-6 in nine starts in 2013 that included a victory over the Steelers. In that game, Pryor made history by rushing for a 93-yard score, the longer touchdown run by a quarterback in NFL history. That was the last season that Pryor saw time as an NFL quarterback.
Pryor’s breakout season as a receiver took place in 2016, when he was the bright spot on a Cleveland Browns’ team that went 1-15. That season, he caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. That offseason, Pryor signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Washington Redskins, a season that was cut short by injury. He spent parts of the 2018 season with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, catching 16 passes for 252 hards and two scores last season. Pryor was released by the Jaguars in August after sustaining a hamstring injury.
In response to their recent injuries at wide receiver, the Steelers promoted Tevin Jones to the 53-man roster while also signing Deon Cain, the Colts‘ second round pick in the 2018 draft. The Steelers’ passing game, with Mason Rudolph playing in relief of injured starter Ben Roethlisberger, is 27th in the league in passing through 10 games. Rudolph had his worst game to date in Pittsburgh’s recent loss to Cleveland, throwing four interceptions in a 21-7 defeat.