Coach Dennis Allen might not yet be ready to proclaim publicly that Terrelle Pryor will start under center for the Oakland Raiders in their season opener at Indianapolis on Sunday. But Pryor’s former mentor in Oakland is taking an interest just the same.
"I’m fired up for T.P.," Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer told ESPN.com. "I know he has patiently waited for his opportunity and has never lost confidence or focus while sitting patiently. He has worked as hard, or harder, than every other starter in the league and I believe he will play with a passion and intensity that the entire Raider Nation will be proud of."
Palmer, acquired by the Raiders from Cincinnati on Oct. 18, 2011, for what turned out to be a first-round draft pick in 2012 and a second-rounder in 2013, was due to make $13 million in Oakland this season.
But after balking at a pay cut and restructured contract that reportedly included no guarantees, Palmer, whose 4,018 yards passing in 2012 represented the second-highest single-season mark in Raiders history, was traded to the Cardinals on April 2. The Raiders also shipped a seventh-round choice in this year’s draft for Arizona’s sixth-rounder this year and a conditional pick in 2014.
A day earlier, Palmer’s fate was sealed when the Raiders picked up Matt Flynn from Seattle for a fifth-round selection in 2014 and a conditional pick in 2015.
Flynn was Oakland’s presumptive starter throughout offseason workouts and until the last week of training camp before ineffectiveness and a sore elbow felled him, reportedly in favor of Pryor.
Palmer was 8-16 as the Raiders’ starter, and Pryor’s lone start, in last season's finale at San Diego, came after Palmer suffered broken ribs and a bruised lung on a helmet-to-back hit by Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy.
Pryor was 13-of-28 passing for 150 yards with two touchdowns and an interception and also ran nine times for 49 yards and a 3-yard touchdown in the Raiders’ 24-21 loss to the Chargers.
"Whatever [Allen’s] choice is, I’ll be ready," said Pryor, who added that he heard from Palmer last week.
"Even back in my first year, when Carson first came here, even last year when I was nowhere in sight to even play, I still studied, and I still was in the room with him and trying to understand defenses and trying to get better."