Terrelle Pryor is well aware that his run as a receiver with the Browns may be short-lived, but he's hoping his balky hamstring will allow him to showcase his improvements this Saturday in Tampa Bay.
With the team's first cutdown day looming next Tuesday, Pryor knows the third preseason game against the Buccaneers might be his best shot to make the team.
"I want to be out there making those plays," Pryor said per Mary Kay Cabot of Northeast Ohio Media Group. "I've just got to take it one day at a time. Hopefully we can play Saturday. If not, hopefully I make the cut and then I can play next week's game and then make the team. I don't know."
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Pryor's status for Saturday all depends on how his hamstring reacts to the work he's been doing in practice this week. He returned to the practice field Wednesday on a limited basis and appeared to take it up a notch on Thursday, according to Cabot. Still, Pryor can't afford a repeat of what happened the last time he tried to return, when he aggravated the hamstring in a joint practice with the Bills on Aug. 17. He acknowledged that he may have rushed back a little too soon due to his competitive juices.
"I just wanted to go out there and it was hurting and I didn't want to put myself in a terrible position," Pryor said. "I tried to fight it out as much as I could. I tried to make great catches for the quarterbacks, which I made a couple. I tried to tough it out. I know I can't look back and say I didn't try."
The coaching staff has acknowledged that the window may be closing on Pryor due to his injury, especially since the odds were already against him as a first-time receiver switching from quarterback.
"Even if he had stayed healthy and gotten every single snap, to go from a quarterback who has never played wideout a snap, to go through an NFL training camp when we have other players to get ready as well, to announce that 'Hey, the project is complete. He can do this,' I think that would've been unrealistic,'' said head coach Mike Pettine. "It is a projection and the projection is we have less information to make that projection based on how training camp went for him."
While the injury has limited the evaluation on Pryor, cornerback Joe Haden sees immense potential in his future as a receiver.
"I just can't wait for him to go out there because he looks like (Lions receiver) Calvin Johnson," Haden said per Jeff Schudel of The News-Herald. "If he goes out and can play half like that, he'll be solid."