There were rumors when Michael Vick was released from prison two years ago. The same thing happened when Plaxico Burress got out of the joint this summer. And now, a day after Terrelle Pryor’s pro day, and in anticipation of this week’s NFL Supplemental Draft, there are murmurs that the Steelers could be interested.
In general, I tend to dismiss such silliness because, well, most of the time people don’t know what they’re talking about. Remember all the “Tomlin and Tiki Barber are BFF’s and that’s why Pittsburgh will sign a washed-up, 36-year-old locker room cancer!” talk? Baron Batch blew out his knee two weeks ago and to date Tiki has had one workout (with the Dolphins) and no contract. You can do the 53-man-roster math on that one. (I’ve written many words about why Tiki-to-the-Burgh wasn’t happening.)
Here’s the latest on Pryor, who’s from Jeannette, PA, about an hour from Pittsburgh.
Via CBSSports.com‘s Chris Adamski: ”Former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor was spotted visiting the Steelers’ facility Sunday on the eve of the Supplemental Draft. Steelers QB Charlie Batch has served as a mentor and advisor for Pryor dating back to when he was a high school phenom..”
And this: ”Team officials were mum on Pryor, who was seen walking into and out of the Steelers’ practice facility Sunday. But WR Antonio Brown is friends with the former Ohio State QB. ‘This process has been long and really stressful for him,’ Brown said. ‘I’m glad he had an amazing pro day… physically a beast; he’s big, strong, fast. He’s a great quarterback.’”
I watched highlights of Pryor’s workout on NFL Network, but I also saw Omar Jacobs highlights shortly after the Steelers drafted him. Going solely on that, Jacobs should already be in the hall of fame.
The point: highlights don’t mean jack. More than that, even if Pryor is a once-in-a-lifetime player (he’s not), I don’t know how the Steelers would squeeze him onto the roster.
Ted went into painstaking detail about how the 53-man roster will shake out. And while there are needs at cornerback and tackle, Pryor is neither. On a good day he’s a WR hybrid; on acid he might be a backup NFL QB. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good as it Gets, “Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.”
In 2009, Tomlin promptly diffused any Vick-to-Pittsburgh talk (Tomlin and Vick grew up the same area in southeastern Virginia): “In terms of [the Steelers being interested in Vick], to be quite honest with you, our quarterback is going through some things of his own right now, and he needs my complete support and undivided attention,” Tomlin told Deion Sanders in an interview with NFL Network. “So it just wasn’t the appropriate time for us to consider something of that nature.”
I figured we hear similar sentiments from Tomlin regarding Plax this offseason. Instead, the Steelers had Burress in for a visit and would’ve happily signed him for the right price. I love Plax, but luckily for Pittsburgh, the Jets gave Burress $3 million to come to New York. It allowed the Steelers to sign Jerricho Cotchery, cut Limas (which was inevitable no matter who the team did or didn’t sign), and build the passing offense around Wallace, Brown and Sanders.
So would the team draft Pryor?
I have no earthly idea why they’d do it. They rightly passed on Vick, and while I didn’t think Plax fit the Steelers’ offense (and I wasn’t alone), I understand why Tomlin was intrigued. I see no upside to drafting Pryor. He’s not a quarterback, he’s never played any other position, and he’d likely end up on the 53-man roster only to sport Duce Staley memorial game-day sweats.
So, yes, I’ll pass. As, I suspect, will the Steelers. Luckily, word on the street is the the Browns are very interested.