Terrelle Pryor has been this season’s pleasant surprise in the NFL. Ascending from third-string QB and a possible roster cut to the team’s starting quarterback, Pryor has continuously been shaping himself into a franchise quarterback for the Raiders. I have made mentions before of Pryor being a possible franchise quarterback, but honestly, it’s not really too hard to see that he is clearly the best option the team has had at quarterback in a long, long time. Each week just shows one more reason why he needs to be the leader that the Raiders build behind. His play on the field has been electrifying, but it is his mental makeup that has me convinced that he needs to be this team’s leader. He has regularly been one of the team’s hardest workers and he really has yet to ever give any impression that the Raiders shouldn’t build behind him. That continued today at the Raiders’ press conference.
Pryor was asked a few questions related to one of the season’s most unpleasant surprise: Jonathan Martin up and leaving the Dolphins over comments made by his teammate, Richie Incognito. The league has been surprisingly divided over the subject, with some players speaking out in favor of Martin and some thinking that he should’ve just kept quiet. He pitched in his two cents, perfectly mediating the line between the two while stiil proving himself as a wonderful leader and person in the process:
We [Pryor, Matt McGloin, and Tyler Wilson] chose this job, and it was engrained in you when you were younger – in high school and college – and as you get to the professional level a lot of your job becomes more than just going out on the field and playing. So something like [the Martin situation] is more in-house, in the locker room. You need to make sure that you have your best foot forward, and I’m not trying to put anyone down or say that the Dolphins quarterback isn’t doing that, I’m just answering your question. I believe that the quarterback is responsible for in-house locker room things and deals, and quieting situations down. I believe that he’s the one that people are going to listen to. I hope that we see [Jonathan] Martin playing again soon – I’ve watched some tape of him, he’s a good player. Hats off to him for standing up and being a man.
There are so many situations that pop up [where you need to intervene] – your teammate has one drink or something like that and you want to say, ‘Hey, maybe you should take a cab, come take a cab with me,’ something small like that you just get so much respect from your teammate that you stopped and helped him. It’s just little things like that, it matters and that definitely comes in on a leadership role.
Even on questions not related to the Raiders, Pryor continues to show why he is the perfect leader for this young team. His answer further proves to doubters that he understands his role as the leader both off and on the field and speaks highly of his maturity and grasp of his situation. He is willing to do anything to stand up for his teammates, even if it means standing up to his teammates. This kind of accountability and team camaraderie has been visibly missing from the Raiders’ locker room for over a decade, but Pryor is winning fans across the league with his sensational play as well as his humbleness and professionalism. It is fitting that Al Davis’ last draft pick is the perfect leader for Reggie’s Raiders, and it is very comforting as a fan to know that the quarterback is willing to fight as hard off the field for his team as he is on the field.