FOXBORO -- After the Patriots worked out Terrelle Pryor last year, the quarterback-turned-receiver was certain that he would soon be added to their roster.
"I really thought I was going to be a Patriot,'' Pryor told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. "I know Bill Belichick really liked me. I had a great workout for them and everything went really well. I really thought he was going to sign me.''
From Pryor's perspective, he believes that the Patriots were scared off by a hamstring injury he had been dealing with. Hurt or not, former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff Michael Lombardi acknowledged that the team should have signed Pryor then and there.
"We blew it," Lombardi said on The Bill Simmons Podcast last week. "The league often gives you a chance to be great, and if you don’t talk advantage of it, it’s your own fault. That was one of those times we didn’t take advantage of it in New England, clearly."
Pryor is in the middle of a breakout season for the Browns. He has 290 yards receiving and a touchdown on 19 catches for a 15.3 yards-per-reception average. The former Ohio State and Raiders quarterback has also run for one score, and he has completed three of five passes for 35 yards.
"Pryor’s a very skilled athlete," Belichick said during Wednesday's press conference. "He’s big, he’s fast. You can see him at Oakland running away from people and being elusive in the open field which he’s done this year after the catch with some catch-and-run plays.
"He has shown an ability to go up and get the ball, take it away from defenders with his length and ball skills and jumping ability and so forth. We obviously didn’t see that before, but you see that now. He does a good job for them."
Had things gone differently following last year's workout, Pryor could have been doing a job for the Patriots. When Belichick was reminded of his encounter with Pryor last year, he did not want to delve into why Pryor was not signed. It was like any workout, Belichick insisted, a fact-finding endeavor.
"I mean every workout, anybody we evaluate, everybody we workout is to find out more about them, to learn about that player, to learn about his situation at that point of time," Belichick said when asked about the 6-foot-4, 223-pounder. "Sometimes our situation changes, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s the same process for all of the other thousands of players we’ve worked out. It’s not anything different with one guy."
Pryor's workout was on Monday, Sept. 14 of last season. At the time, the Patriots were without injured receiver Brandon LaFell and could have used a big-body on the outside to pair with quarterback Tom Brady. On Sept. 17, the team announced that it had executed a trade with the Texans to acquire receiver Keshawn Martin.