Injuries seem to be a pretty popular aspect of NFL training camp this summer. Almost every team has endured ailments to crucial players, some minor, others season ending. Either way, all franchises focus on surviving training camp with as complete a starting roster as possible, and such a task is proving difficult across almost the entire league.
For the Cleveland Browns, the popular trend is apparently soft-tissue injuries. “Hamstring” seems to be mentioned on a daily basis, and it covers more than just a few players trying to make the team.
One of these is quarterback-turned-wideout Terrelle Pryor. The former Ohio State star spent the entire summer putting in work to transition positions, which had coaches and media members alike eagerly awaiting training camp to see if he could be a weapon for the Browns.
While he definitely helped his chances with a surprisingly successful first few days of camp, a hamstring injury sidelined him for a little over a week, causing him to miss the first preseason game. There was concern Pryor was missing crucial opportunities to grab hold of a roster spot, but his return to the practice field this week eased these worries.
That is, until he reinjured his hamstring yesterday, causing him to miss today’s practice. Word is nobody should put much stock in the idea of Pryor playing in tomorrow’s preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, either. And, while his athletic ability has many coaches intrigued, they need to see him on the field.
Unfortunately, because of his struggles to get into the preseason, Pryor is slowly but surely running out of time to prove his worth in Cleveland.
From everything coming out of camp, a healthy Pryor had about a 90% shot of making the final roster. This is much higher than the initial 5% odds some in the media hung on him when word broke he signed with Cleveland. Fact is, nobody on the offense possesses the kind of physical skills he does, and it was sure looking like the Browns were going to cash in on a low risk/high reward signing.
They still might, but Pryor will need to actually get into a preseason game first.
The problem for Pryor is the team really hasn’t invested too much in him, not nearly enough to merit keeping him even if he can’t get in any preseason action. He’s not the only player who’s hurt and also hoping to make the final roster. At the same time, there are other injured players who probably aren’t sweating as much as Pryor, thanks in part to their current standing with the team.
For example, receiver Dwayne Bowe has been sidelined throughout most of camp, suffering practically the same injury Pryor is. The only difference is Bowe is both an established receiver in the NFL and is already guaranteed $9 million this season without playing a single down. Likewise, rookie running back Duke Johnson has missed most of camp with – you guessed it – a hamstring injury. However, the Browns spent a third round pick on him, so they’re hardly going to cut him despite his ailment.
Pryor, meanwhile, is trying out a new position, one which practice reps are clearly not enough to prove yourself worthy. Sure, there’s a ton of intrigue surrounding him. But, thanks to his ailing hamstring, that’s all there is right now.
To his credit, coach Mike Pettine claimed he’s neither guaranteeing Pryor a spot nor writing him off because of his injury. So, as frustrating as this situation is for him, he’s not on thin ice just yet.
However, he needs to get healthy, and fast. Half of the preseason will be finished by the end of the week, and it’s sure looking like Pryor will have logged zero minutes by that time. If he misses one more game after that, he’ll have to fight like there’s no tomorrow to make a strong impression in the final week of camp.
Otherwise, this project may not come into fruition. At least not with the Browns, that is.