Once in a while, you’ll catch Terrelle Pryor talking about himself the way someone might talk about a finely tuned machine. He was broken back then, during those days last year in Washington, when he sprained his ankle in training camp and later hurt it again, requiring arthroscopic surgery.
“Now everything is fixed,” he said. “Now I’m fixed and I’m healthy.”
But of course, Pryor is a living, breathing human being, and no matter how much he’d like his return to be automatic, it hasn’t been quite that. After missing minicamp and OTAs while recovering from surgery, he needs to be eased back into action.
For the first few practices, the wide receiver wore a red no-contact jersey. He still isn’t exactly where he wants to be. All of which requires perspective, patience and more than a little humility — a few un-machine-like qualities.
“I feel good. I get sore, but for the most part, they have it under control,” Pryor said after practice Thursday.
The red jersey has been replaced with white, though he ran only about eight routes and did some red-zone drills. “I’m not there,” he said. “Like I talked to my teammates and I tell them all the time, it feels like I’m almost there but [not there yet]. I’ll get there.”
Pryor is an intriguing addition, if he truly is healthy and can get back into 2016 shape. That was the year the former quarterback racked up 1,007 yards on 77 catches with four touchdowns despite his inexperience. He’s 6-4, with explosive speed and a quarterback’s awareness of the play and the field. He still misses playing quarterback, he said, but it’s probably for the best — he wasn’t all that great, he joked.
Having been a quarterback, “it helps me an awful lot,” he said. “For me to come back and just be right in the mix and not have any MEs [mental errors] in the past couple practices I’m in, it’s a great step for me and great confidence-builder for me because I know I can just step in.”
That’s really one of the more pivotal factors. Despite his tendency for flashy plays — his former Redskins teammates have said they’ll be gunning for him when the two teams practice together next week, because Pryor used to make one-handed catches during training camp last year and they felt it showed them up — he has a lot to prove.
Getting up to speed is a gradual process, and “I just gotta understand that and keep that in perspective,” he said. “Once I get out there and start catching more balls and getting targeted and stuff like that, I’ll get my confidence . . . I gotta continue to show the quarterbacks that I can get open and I think I’ll get confident.”
Saturday night lights. The Jets will take the field at Rutgers on Saturday night for the Green & White scrimmage. It will work more like a practice, coach Todd Bowles said, with maybe a few more team drills and more live sessions.
“Oh, 100 percent,” there’s an extra thrill, Jamal Adams said. “You know, under the lights, the fans get to come out and watch us at a great university. What more can you ask for? It’s football at the end of the day. A lot of energy, a lot of swagger is going to be out there and it’s going to be a great time for sure.”