CORTLAND, N.Y. - Calvin Pryor finally was able to ditch the red jersey, but the rookie's status for the Jets' preseason opener Thursday night against the Colts still is up in the air.
The first-round draft pick began practice Monday wearing the non-contact pinnie, but after the safety went through some drills, head trainer John Mellody medically cleared him for contact. Pryor -- who had been sidelined for more than a week after suffering a concussion on July 26 -- practiced with the third-team defense during team drills.
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"Will he play in the game? I'm not sure," coach Rex Ryan said. "When I saw him out there, he started in a red jersey and all of a sudden he had the red jersey off. So hopefully that's a positive sign that it's only a matter of time."
Pryor said he didn't experience any concussion symptoms on the field but admitted he's not on top of his game after being a spectator for several days.
"I feel a little rusty," he said. "But it was good to be out there with the guys."
Pryor said he thinks he'll "be fine from here on out" but was cautious when asked if he'll play.
"I have no idea. Right now we're taking it day by day," he said. "Each day they're going to be checking with me . . . and making sure I'm good."
To avoid falling too far behind, Pryor makes sure he's always attentive in meetings and poses plenty of questions to his coaches. But mental reps take a player only so far, Ryan said.
"We always stress 'take in the mental reps,' but there's nothing like getting out there yourself and getting through it," Ryan said. "So it doesn't surprise me that he might feel a little behind."
So if Pryor gets the OK from the trainers within the next three days, he'll see action Thursday night.
"Hey, if he's cleared and we feel good about that and he's not at any more risk, throw him out there some," Ryan said. "It might not be with the [starters] or something, but he needs to get work. And as soon as he's ready to go, we're going to put him out there."
Pryor earned the nickname "Louisville Slugger" for his hard-hitting ways in college. But at the moment, the 18th overall pick doesn't miss hitting guys.
"Right now, not at all," he said with a smile.