Terrelle Pryor showed enough this weekend to earn a deal with the Bengals.
The Bengals could have signed backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor last week, but that would have disqualified him from this weekend's rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. He wanted the reps even though he's been in the league three seasons, so after completing the camp's fourth practice on Sunday morning they inked Pryor to a deal that makes him the fourth quarterback.
In other moves Sunday, the Bengals felt good enough about their young tight ends in the wake of the rookie minicamp that they cut veteran Kevin Brock and added tryout tight end John Peters. They also signed two other tryout players who are rookies, Washington State defensive tackle Toni Pole and Oregon safety Erick Dargan. They also signed the first of their nine draft picks, seventh-rounder Mario Alford, a wide receiver from West Virginia.
"Very excited," said Pryor, who doesn't turn 26 until next month. "What a great opportunity to be with great coaches and a great organization that the Browns have built. I'm still young for a quarterback. All you can do is learn. Hopefully I showed the coaches I can not only be a leader, but I have the foundation to get better."
His deal appears to put Pryor in competition with Josh Johnson for the third and final quarterback spot behind starter Andy Dalton and another backup, AJ McCarron, but McCarron also has plenty to prove after being active only late in the year after rehabbing his throwing shoulder. Pryor didn't play in the NFL last season, but he started six games for the Raiders in 2013 and had a 3-6 record while throwing seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
The 6-6, 240-pound Pryor impressed over the weekend with his command of offensive coordinator Hue Jackson's system, which he had as a 2011 rookie when Jackson was his head coach in Oakland and the Raiders selected him in the third round of the supplemental draft out of Ohio State.
Even though the move is a work in progress, Jackson loves Pryor's athletic ability and presence and both were put on display on and off the field during the weekend. Since Pryor has left Jackson, he's 3-7 as a starter, been traded to Seattle, and cut by Seattle and Kanas City. After Friday's first practice, Jackson says he has seen vast improvement over the four years.
"That's a different quarterback," Jackson said. "The guy I had was coming right out Ohio State and whatever that was and didn't have the first six weeks and I didn't have an opportunity to have a word with him. I had him for one day in training camp and then we got him, the season had already started, so this guy's improved. He's a very talented young man. But again, we'll see where we are."
Jackson reiterated that Dalton is the unquestioned starter and leader in the quarterback room. But he believes Pryor brings worthy intangibles.
"He's a leader. He has great leadership ability and he knows how to rally people," Jackson said. "He's always had that. So he has the right characteristics."
The 6-8 Peters is another import from trainer Clif Marshall's NFL factory at Ignition Performance in Mason, Ohio, and gives the Bengals five tight ends that are at least 6-6. Peters, out of Cincinnati's Mount St. Joseph College and suburban Cincinnati's Lakota West High School, racked up impressive workouts in the offseason after converting from wide receiver while putting on nearly 20 pounds since January to get to 265 pounds.
Training with Bengals like Eifert and linebacker Rey Maualuga, Peters ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds, jumped 10.5 feet in the board jump and repped 225 pounds 27 times.