I had the unique pleasure of being an Oakland Raiders fan for the past ten years. Ironically, I am from the Pittsburgh area, about fifteen minutes from Terrelle Pryor’s hometown. A lot of people ask me why I am a Raiders fan and its very simple; Al Davis. Davis is my idol for many reasons which I’ll write about in my next column. Al Davis and Pryor will be connected forever.
Right before Davis passed away he selected Pryor in the supplemental draft. This was a classic Davis pick. Coming out of college Pryor was known for his freakish size and athletic ability. Scouts and journalist questioned whether Pryor could be a starting quarterback at the NFL level. Rumors of position changes spread rapidly, but based on research conducted and phone calls made it seem evidently clear that Al Davis had future quarterback on his mind when he used a second round draft pick to secure the rights to Pryor.
It wasn’t an easy road for Pryor in the NFL. That wasn’t the same in high school. I went to a high school football game of Pryor’s that I’ll never forget. It was against Greensburg Central Catholic in fall of 2007. It would be Pryor’s junior year and he was taking on a very tough GCC team. They had Nick Sukay, (PSU) Max Suter, Cody Catalina, (both went to Syracuse) and many more players that would go on to play in college.
Pryor played quarterback and safety that night and I’ll never forget the game. In football its very hard to single handedly be the reason a team wins a game. Pryor did just that. I don’t have the stat line for that game but what I watched with my own eyes I’ll never forget. He was all over the field both offensively and defensively. Pryor would destroy most high school teams but GCC was one of the best high school teams in the county. That night Pryor had almost single handedly beat them.
I witnessed touchdown passes, touchdown runs, and even a touchdown reception on a trick play. I witnessed him intercept a pass, not get beat one time, and he even had a few sacks if I remember correctly. Needless to say, Pryor is a winner. Terrelle became the first player in Pennsylvania history to run for 4,000 yards and also throw for 4,000 yards. He led his high school team, the Jeanette Jayhawks to their first-ever Pennsylvania state championship by defeating the Dunmore Bucks, 49-21. That year the team would score a state record 860 points. I watched a few Pryor games and sometimes they would sit him at halftime because the score would be out of hand. It was insane. He was a winner.
At the college level, he continued with his winning ways. His impressive record and college accolades would be overlooked by a college scandal involving him and a few other teammates. The NCAA’s weird rules involving players not being able to make money in college put Pryor’s NCAA career in jeopardy. Pryor declared that he would forgo his senior season and enter the NFL’s supplemental draft. The Raiders would select him as everyone knows at this point. Al Davis wanted to win at any cost. He knew the potential Pryor had and he also knew that Pryor was indeed a winner.
Following the Raiders from Pittsburgh is almost a full time job in itself. I paid close attention to what every media outlet said about the Raiders and Pryor. When the new regime took over after Davis’s death, the future looked grim for Pryor. In the future I’ll go into more detail about how bad it looked at one point and I look forward to interviewing Hugh Jackson about Pryor next week. For now though, just know this; Pryor is named the starting quarterback because he earned it. He is a winner. He is a winner because of the amount of hard work he had to put in to be an NFL starting quarterback. Pryor playing in the NFL was never in doubt. When you are 6’5, 240 pounds and run a 4.42 your going to be in the NFL more than likely. Pryor had to work on his game to get to have a shot at playing QB. Now he has his shot and I expect him to win games himself. We all may be witnessing one of the greatest stories in NFL history. Al Davis was a winner. Pryor has a chance to enhance Al Davis’s great legacy even further. Pryor is a winner.
By: Josh King, Trib Total Media
Follow on twitter: @joshk65