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Bengals talk facing Terrelle Pryor, fallout in Cincinnati

Terrelle Pryor could be playing receiver for the Bengals right now, but he said no to that option while with the team in 2015.

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NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like forever ago that Terrelle Pryor was actually a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

However, that was a different time for both Pryor and the Bengals, back in the summer of 2015, which helped lead to a rather contentious split. The former Buckeye quarterback was signed essentially to be a camp body for the Bengals, though they did try to move him from quarterback to wide receiver for a real shot at competing.

He refused the position move, which led to the Bengals waiving him shortly after minicamp ended that year. Pryor followed that up by posting practice videos of himself, which is a big no-no in the NFL.

After then realizing he had no future in the NFL at quarterback, Pryor warmed up to the idea of playing wide receiver and the Cleveland Browns claimed Pryor off of waivers.

Since then, Pryor has become a quality receiver for a Cleveland team that has very little else going well for it. He’s been so good this year that some think he’ll be the top free agent receiver next offseason, if the Browns let him hit the open market.

Even so, Bengals cornerback Adam Jones is not impressed with what he’s seen from Pryor.

“He pushes off, every route. He’s an OK receiver,” Jones told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “They do feature him a little bit so he does get more looks than a guy who would be in his situation. He’s just a guy to me.”

“I don’t like him,” Jones added.

Fellow Bengals corner Josh Shaw was a little more effusive with his praise while point out what’s made him a great receiver in just one year.

“I think he’s a very good athlete that obviously is becoming more and more of a polished receiver as the weeks go on,” Shaw said. “But if I had to pinpoint one thing I would say he’s pretty good at attacking the ball. He’s bigger than most defensive backs he plays. They give him some jump balls and he’s won most of his 50-50 battles this year. I think that is his strongest asset.”

Head coach Marvin Lewis is also impressed with what he’s seen of Pryor, even though it didn’t work out when he was in Cincinnati. Back in October when the Bengals hosted the Browns, Lewis actually revealed some interesting details about what happened with Pryor in Cincinnati.

“I think Hue did. It was suggested by the owner (Mike Brown), and I think Hue brought it up to him, but he was not ready to do it at that point,” Lewis said of moving Pryor to wide receiver. “He wanted to be a quarterback. That is what he told me when he came here and even when we decided that we were just going to bring three quarterbacks to training camp.

“It was not anything that Terrelle did negatively. It was just a matter of what we wanted to do with and having a young guy with the ability to be on the practice squad. We went down a number because we needed another position, but he still was not ready.”

But as you may recall, Pryor was actually waived by the Browns in the middle of the 2015 season, but the Bengals still passed on giving him a shot as a receiver with them, though it was more because there still was very little film of Pryor as a receiver.

“You really could not see much of him doing it because of his hamstring injuries. He really did not get many opportunities last preseason. I want to say like 16 plays until they signed him back,” Lewis said. “I bet that number is pretty accurate, so you can tell that I checked on it and checked on him. So you really could not tell. I think he has made huge progress since then.”

This season, Pryor has caught 62 passes for 855 yards and four scores. His most recent game was in Week 12 vs. the New York Giants, where he caught six balls for 131 yards.

However, Pryor was held to just two catches for 18 yards vs the Bengals back in Week 7. That’s the kind of line Cincinnati needs to hold him to on Sunday in order to shut down the Browns offense, was does very little when Pryor isn’t producing.