With the regular season winding down and the Cleveland Browns just two losses away from going a perfect (imperfect?) 0-16 (0-20 if you count preseason), one of the biggest questions heading into the off-season — outside of the NFL Draft — is if the team will re-sign wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.
While many fans may want the former Ohio State Buckeye back in brown and orange for 2017 and beyond, a former teammate of Pryor, both at Ohio State and with the Browns, doesn’t believe that the team should re-sign him.
Here’s what Brian Hartline said on Columbus, Ohio’s 105.7 The Zone, per ohio.com’s Nate Ulrich:
“So I’m very apprehensive as a Cleveland Browns guy to give out a contract. Listen, you had one year. You’re a flash in the pan. You’re trying to tell me with a guy that had suspect personality characteristics, I’m going to go ahead and hand you a bunch of money but you’re going to work harder? Uh, I think I’m going to bet against that if I’m a betting man.”
The wideout, who was released by the Browns prior to the season, seems to have some beef with his former teammate, whether it be when the two were in Columbus or in Cleveland together. Head coach Hue Jackson has referred to his top receiver as a building block for years to come, but Hartline doesn’t think he’s anywhere close to that. In fact, he doesn’t even think he’s a No. 1 wide receiver in the league, whether it be due to his off the field antics, difficulty running routes, or his inconsistency at times. With just one year under his belt at receiver, Hartline thinks he may just be a player that is good at times, but not all the time.
“If I’m building a team, what is [Pryor]? Is he my No. 1? God, I hope not because let’s put it this way: For me, I want a guy day in and day out I know what I’m getting. You don’t know what you’re going to get. You don’t know who’s going to show up. You don’t know if he’s going to get in trouble. You don’t know if he’s going to smart off. I need stability. That’s so more important to me. I need a guy that runs routes. I need stability. I need constant production. Is he a No. 2? OK, yeah. I mean maybe. He kind of disappeared the last couple weeks.”
In his first full season as a receiver, the 27-year-old leads the team with 67 catches (124 targets), 877 yards, and four touchdowns. Pryor has also played quarterback (5-for-9, 41 yards) and has ran the ball as well (eight carries, 21 yards, one touchdown). Outside of being on the offensive line, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound wideout really has done it all for the Browns’ offense. Hartline admitted that he’s being productive, but doesn’t think that TP has been dominant whatsoever, which is the main reason why he doesn’t want Pryor back with the Browns in 2017.
“He’s being productive. At no point is he being dominant. He’s doing more than we thought, and that’s the reaction. I wish him well. And by the way, as a Cleveland Browns fan, guys, hey, alert everybody, it’s OK to let guys go and let them be successful elsewhere as long as they don’t fit your mold. Just have a plan. If they don’t fit your plan, let them go and wish them well. It’s OK. It’s not a big deal, but you better have a response. You better have a guy to fill that void. So for me, I’m not paying a guy off of one year. I’m wishing him well, and I’m going to go ahead and go build something else because I’m not sure Terrelle Pryor is a building block.”
Although he has done well all season, Pryor has struggled over the last two games with quarterback Robert Griffin III back under center. In the last two weeks, he has just five catches (nine targets) for 22 yards, including just one reception for three yards in Week 14. Even with his struggles the last two weeks, head coach Hue Jackson believes he can always count on No. 11—”I have a tremendous amount of confidence,” he said earlier this week. Due to the fact that this is his first full season as a wide out, Jackson believes Pryor is only going to get better with more experience.
The beef Hartline has with Pryor is definitely interesting and something to keep an eye on moving forward. At Ohio State, many believed Hartline declared for the NFL Draft a year early as to not be a part of the Pryor-led offense. Last season, Hartline (along with Donte Whitner) went to bat for Josh Lenz when he did not make the 53-man roster over Pryor.
Whether it’s just that the former Brown doesn’t like his ex-teammate or something else, Hartline’s opinions seem to all lead to him not wanting his hometown team to re-sign Pryor and bring him back to the shores of Lake Erie. The team reportedly had contract talks with the receiver back in October. If they were to franchise him for 2017, it would cost roughly $15 million for one season.