On April 23, 2011 the Oakland Raiders drafted Terrelle Pryor in the third round of the supplemental draft. Afterward they announced that their intention was for him to play quarterback first and foremost.
With the NFL lockout going on, the supplemental draft happened during training camp. Four days after he was chosen by the Raiders, he arrived in Napa, just in time for the final day of camp.
In that one day of practice, he looked worse throwing the football than I have ever seen from a quarterback in an NFL practice. His passes either wobbled, sailed, floated, died or some combination of those. In team sessions I counted exactly ONE pass the entire day that was an on-target spiral. Sure it was one day, it was late in camp, and he was rusty, but on many of his throws he literally looked like he had never held a football before. It was baffling.
Then in his post-practice interview, he was asked the same question about his willingness to switch positions. This time his answer was different than it had been in pre-draft workouts for NFL teams. This time he said unequivocally that he was a quarterback.
In that same conversation, he reiterated that he accepts the suspension handed down by the commissioner and would serve it without appeal. He then, of course, later appealed his suspension, which in the end, was upheld.
He would spend the first five weeks of the NFL season like a ship passing in the night to his new teammates. They would have their practice and when it was over, while they filed into the locker room, he was suiting up to head out to the field for individual drills.
Following week four of that season, while Pryor was still serving his suspension, the man who drafted him passed away. Al Davis, who was dazzled enough by Pryor's 6-5 frame and 4.43 speed was no longer there to ensure his new toy took the field. His son Mark would take over as owner while head coach, Hue Jackson, was the unofficial acting general manager the rest of the season.
In week six of the 2011 season, Pryor was eligible to play for the first time. Just before that, however, starter Jason Campbell broke his collarbone and there was an immediate shake-up in the quarterback ranks. That shake-up was headlined by the acquiring Carson Palmer in trade from the Bengals.
Throughout the bye week that followed, Hue Jackson played cat and mouse with the media as to whom would be starting the next game. Kyle Boller was the primary backup to Campbell and seemed like the most logical choice due to Palmer just arriving off his couch with little to no knowledge of the playbook and Pryor having just been activated off the suspended list.
But Hue thought competitive advantage against the rival Chiefs was his best weapon and therefore split reps in practice between the three quarterbacks to keep up the mystery. In the end a not properly prepared Kyle Boller would start, throw three interceptions before being replaced by Palmer who, being not ready at all, threw three interceptions of his own.
In the middle of this clusterf--k, Terrelle Pryor trotted onto the field to take his first snap as an NFL player. He set up behind center on a called sneak and started to lean forward before the ball was snapped. He was called for a false start and then came off the field not to return.
He would be active for the following week and then inactive the rest of the season. That was it for Pryor in 2011. Not only that but since his one play was a penalty, it was unofficial. So technically he didn't play a single snap that season.
Immediately after the season, the entire front office and coaching staff was overhauled. Reggie McKenzie came in as GM, he fired Hue Jackson, replaced him with Dennis Allen and he hired nearly an entire new coaching staff.
Carson Palmer remained starting quarterback with Pryor heading into camp battling for the primary backup job with newly acquired, Matt Leinart. Pryor would lose that battle and the Raiders went into the season with Palmer, Leinart, and Pryor as 1-2-3.
During the first 15 games of the 2012 season, Pryor had a total of three plays on offense -- one pass, one run, and one catch. The dismantled, patchwork team limped into the final week of the season at 4-11.
At that point the season was lost and it was time for the Raiders to get a glimpse of what kind of player they had in Terrelle Pryor. So, he was named the starter for the final game of the season.
Pryor took the field as the starter in San Diego in front of a crowd that was made up of as many Raiders fans as Chargers fans -- which is standard for the Raiders annual trip to San Diego.
Before the game, as if some kind of sign of the end of times, it began hailing. HAILING... in SAN DIEGO. By the time the game started, the hail had stopped but it made the field a little muddy. Mostly it just made for some old school looking pictures of Raiders players in muddied white jersey's. Though it didn't affect the play in the game.
All in all, Pryor had a decent debut. He went 13 for 28 (46%) for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns with one interception. He added a rushing touchdown as well and the Raider fell 21-24 to the Chargers. It made for some interesting fodder and had Raiders fans salivating at his potential heading into the 2013 season.