Loyalty in sports is as rare as a Unicorn sliding down a rainbow with Tupac Shakur riding it’s back. It’s just not going to happen. Teams pay players for a service and when they feel they have repaid their debt, they are either let go or rewarded with a larger contract. Now, Free Agency is another beast in itself. This is the time where players can do as they feel and go for the winning teams or the big contracts without an owner or GM dictating directions.
This was the case with former Cleveland Browns receiver, Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor was taken by the Oakland Raiders in the Supplemental Draft in 2011 to play QB. However, it wasn’t meant to be. He ended up in Cleveland and was converted into a WR and turned in a stellar season in 2016 that saw him go over the much-hyped 1000 yard mark. It’s not to discredit his inability to play QB but more along the lines to show the heart, skill, and commitment to learn a new position and achieve.
For once, it seemed as though the Browns actually had a player they could build around as Pryor told the Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier this year.
“But I do love being with the Browns and like I said before, this thing isn’t about joining a different team because a different team’s good. That’s not what it’s about. I love the building process here. I started out in my career never coming in the front door. I’ve always got to go in the back, the hard way and the longer way. . . .
Throughout the season, amidst the Browns losing game after game, Pryor has always stated that he wanted to stay with the Browns. But, when the time came to actually stand by his word he pulled a Lebron James and took the nearest highway out of town. In Pryor’s defense, the Browns were a tad worse than the Cleveland Cavaliers when James left but it was the principle of the situation. James was the hometown kid who grew up in Ohio with dreams of bringing the Cavs their first championship. He couldn’t do it alone so he left, turning his back on a city he made a promise to.
Now, it was Pryor making those same promises but he was not a hometown kid per say. He was a legend thanks to his time at Ohio State but all the talk of him wanting to remain a Brown was just that, talk. He had his chance as the Browns offered him a deal last week but he turned it down and ran to the Washington Redskins.
Pryor is not on the same level as LeBron in terms of star power but he could’ve been the one to build around for the Browns. What is it with players and the city of Cleveland? The Cavs won a ring after LeBron had a strange change of heart and fans went crazy with jersey sales after they just finished burning his old one. He was booed when he returned to play in Cleveland as a member of the Miami Heat and the national media and basketball fans gave him no slack in terms of leadership and loyalty. But he made up for it.
Pryor is now in the same boat. Granted, he never led the Browns to the Super Bowl but it was his choice to leave after all the team had done for him to succeed. They could’ve kept him on the bench as a backup QB, but they gave him a shot to be more than what everyone expected him to be. And this is how he decided to show his gratitude.
Pryor deserves to be treated as Public Enemy #1.