- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer
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Because while it did not have the same ring or feel as another signal-caller from western Pennsylvania sitting poolside in Miami in 1969, Pryor did have a pseudo-Joe Willie Namath moment.
“I mean, this isn’t a potential four-win team,” Pryor said. “We’re definitely going to get to four wins. That part’s easy. I’m not worried about that.”
Say what? Pryor, who has started all of seven games in his nascent NFL career and is 3-4, is guaranteeing wins now? And for a rebuilding team coming off a 4-12 season?
Well, um, yeah.
“Whether it’s this week or next, we’re going to get to four wins and get a lot more wins, I guarantee that,” he added. “If we work our butts off, it’s only clear for us to win, and I expect that from every team in the NFL to think like that.
“For as hard as they all work, I expect them to believe that they’re going to get more than four wins, more than eight wins. That’s my mindset, and that’s guaranteed.”
No one can question Pryor’s work ethic ... or his running ability. Least of all the incoming Philadelphia Eagles, whose rookie head coach once unsuccessfully recruited Pryor to Oregon.
“I thought he could be a college quarterback because I’d seen him work, and I know how important playing quarterback was to him,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “A lot of people were telling him that he was a really good athlete and that he could do anything, but Terrelle was always driven to be a quarterback, which is an awesome thing.
“I’ve seen him play quarterback for a while -- I lost to him in the Rose Bowl [in 2010] when he played quarterback at Ohio State. He threw the ball on us then. I think he’s starting to develop, and we’re excited about the challenge of facing him.”
But as tempting as rocking the Ducks’ ever-evolving gear was, Eugene was simply too far from Pryor’s hometown of Jeannette, Pa.
There was also, as Kelly talked about, Pryor’s desire to play under center beyond college.
“How many quarterbacks have they developed that have made it to the league? How is their offense run?” Pryor remembered thinking. “You don’t see a lot of quarterbacks from their system make it into the NFL because of their style of play versus the style of the NFL. You don’t learn how to drop back and run plays, you just look at the sideline and learn.
“I came from a high school like that, so I had to make a grown-man decision when I was 18 and go to Ohio State because they had a lot of pro-style stuff and protection stuff that I knew I had to get caught up on. So, that’s why I made that decision.”
In six games this season -- Pryor missed the Washington loss on Sept. 29 because of the concussion he suffered six days earlier at Denver -- he has thrown for 1,149 yards on 63.1 percent passing (99-of-157) with five touchdowns and seven interceptions for a QB rating of 77.2.
Pryor is also the Raiders’ leading rusher with 391 yards on 53 carries, including his record-breaking 93-yard sprint Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers that was the longest TD run by a quarterback in NFL history as well as the longest run from scrimmage in Raiders franchise history, eclipsing Bo Jackson’s 92-yarder in 1989.
That it came in a victory over his hometown team and childhood idols in the Steelers was gravy.
Is there anything to glean from facing another Pennsylvania team in the Eagles in consecutive weeks?
“I don’t even think of it like that, which you could,” Pryor insisted. “It was big to get it against the [Steelers], bragging rights a little bit ... but Philadelphia is four or five hours away. It’s not very relevant to me.
“I just think getting any win in the NFL is fantastic, and we need to do that. No matter who we’re playing, it’s going to be the same feeling. Winning is winning, and it’s better than losing, no matter who we’re playing.”