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Terrelle Pryor hoping for career re-boot with Bengals

CINCINNATI -- The news of Terrelle Pryor's release from Kansas City had barely hit the wires before one of his old coaches reached out.

Hue Jackson, the Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator who drafted Pryor when the two were in Oakland four years ago, was looking for another quarterback to compete for a spot on the team's training-camp roster. He thought he'd see if Pryor wanted to try out.

"He's a very talented young man," Jackson said just after the Bengals' first day of rookie minicamp Friday. "We're just going to keep working with him and see what we have."

It must be made clear: Pryor's appearance at the Bengals' minicamp was purely for tryout purposes. No signing has occurred. He isn't on the Bengals' roster.

But he's trying to be.

"This is a joy for me," Pryor said. "I went to Hue and said I can do this minicamp because I need reps. I'm not going to get them when Andy [Dalton] gets here. I have to understand, take the reps I get, focus in, laser in and do the best I can."

Apparently he did pretty well Friday, according to Jackson.

"The guy hit a lot of balls and did a lot of good things for the first time being back around me in a number of years," Jackson said. "I was impressed with what he did."

Pryor was put through a variety of passing scenarios; from simulating play-action fakes, to throwing on the run, to throwing with a large defender in his face. He also took a few read-option snaps, showcasing a glimpse of the 4.3 40-yard speed that made him a coveted prospect out of college.

Coy as he can be, Jackson gave no indication of the myriad ways he could use a player with Pryor's combination of size, speed and athleticism. For the time being, he can't entertain such thoughts because Pryor hasn't made the squad just yet.

"He can still run, but again, I don't want to get my hopes up about anything other than watching what he does every day and we'll take it from there," Jackson said.

One thing Pryor doesn't want to do if he can help it is play any position other than quarterback.

"If I can't play quarterback, I can't play football -- I'm pretty much done," Pryor said.

Possible position drama aside, Pryor appears to be seeing the writing on the wall. This could be among his last chances to be an NFL quarterback.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis credited Pryor for possessing such dogged persistence.

"Terrelle has a presence. This is not his first rodeo," Lewis said. "He's been through things, he's been with Hue before, so he has a calmness about him. He's actually a role model for some of these six or seven other veteran players [who are in the minicamp] to watch how a guy who came into the NFL in 2011 is looking to try to get an opportunity -- not even to make the team yet, but to get an opportunity to make the team. And the urgency to his step. That's a good role model for these young guys to observe.

"He has an urgency that they need to learn, and that goes to show how important this is to him."