Pryor departure necessary after soap-opera season

Pryor departure necessary after soap-opera season
April 21, 2014, 7:15 pm
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Pryor had no place in Oakland and, and when it became clear that Allen would be retained in 2014, the passer wanted out. The Raiders were happy to oblige and got something in return for a player who had fallen out of favor.
Scott Bair

Terrelle Pryor is no longer a Raider. The 24-year old’s tumultuous tenure ended on Monday night, when he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Raiders got a seventh-round pick in return. They would’ve cut him for nothing.

This divorce was expected following a drama-filled 2013 season that ended beyond the point of no return.

Multiple sources indicated that Pryor and head coach Dennis Allen were oil and water. They never did mix well.

No matter what happened last season, this trade was a football-first decision. The team gave him nine starts in 2013 and a fair evaluation. Pryor was not in the Raiders future plans. 

Pryor was Allen’s starting quarterback of necessity following Matt Flynn’s noodle-armed fall from grace. But Pryor surprised many with improved mechanics and a daring improvisational style. His high-wire act was always entertaining, and electrified a fan base clamoring for something to cheer for.

A few early wins and some respectable losses enhanced the Pryor mystique, which had grown since then owner Al Davis selected him in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft.

There was something that drew Raiders Nation to Pryor. Maybe it was the raw athleticism, the untapped potential. Maybe it was the reverent way he talked about Al Davis. Or how he was always cool with a quote and ever grateful for his passionate fan base.

[RATTO: Pryor, Al Davis' last gamble, now someone else's issue]

Pryor’s standing with the Raiders always had fault lines. Over time, they produced earthquakes. Some were small, like a poor practice or an inability to consistently run the offense as instructed. 

Cracks eventually turned to caverns following a Nov. 10 loss to the New York Giants, when Pryor blamed poor performance on a knee injury in a postgame press conference.

Pryor made the grade II knee sprain – from which most athletic quarterbacks would miss time – seem inconsequential until it excused poor play. Matt McGloin took over as the starter then and didn’t relinquish it once Pryor got healthy.

Pryor carried a different disposition from then on, fluctuating between disenchanted, aloof and quietly defiant.

Then came the infamous rant from then-agent Jerome Stanley, who swore Allen set Pryor up to fail by starting him in the season finale against Denver. There was no turning back then. The Raiders were happy with McGloin as a backup and on the hunt for a veteran starting quarterback.

Pryor had no place in Oakland and, and when it became clear that Allen would be retained in 2014, the passer wanted out. The Raiders were happy to oblige, and surprisingly got something in return for a player who had fallen out of favor.

The great fear of trading a player like this is giving up too quickly, that he turns into a superstar for some other team. The Raiders made this move with conviction, ready to move on with Matt Schaub and McGloin and any other passer possibly taken in the upcoming draft.

While Pryor won’t get to a chance to start in Seattle – Russell Wilson owns that spot – he will have an opportunity to compete and develop in an offensive system suited to his skill set. He’s a free agent after the season and can revive his quest to start at that point, with another year on his belt. The kid’s only 24, and maybe the future will turn bright. He has tremendous work ahead before it does. He needs to show more consistent mechanics and decision-making within the standard framework of an offense. He needs to learn when to improvise, when to go for broke and when to play it safe.

The Raiders are happy to move on with an extra draft pick in hand and an extremely vocal pro-Pryor minority quelled for good.

Monday’s transaction ends the unique Raiders tenure of an often-polarizing figure who was never, ever dull.