NFL team takes a chance, drafts Terrelle Pryor

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NFL team takes a chance, drafts Terrelle Pryor

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 22, 2011
The Oakland Raiders used a third-round pick Monday in the NFL's supplemental draft to select former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The Raiders and the league announced that Oakland used the 18th selection of the round for Pryor. Oakland forfeits its third-round selection in the 2012 draft. No other players were chosen. Pryor will not be eligible to practice with or play for Oakland during the regular season until the team's sixth game. When he was allowed to enter Monday's draft, he was handed a five-game suspension by Commissioner Roger Goodell -- the same number of games he would have sat out had he returned to Ohio State. Pryor has said he will not appeal the suspension. Pryor gave up his final season with the Buckeyes after an investigation into the team's memorabilia-for-cash scandal that cost coach Jim Tressel his job. His selection by the Raiders hardly is surprising. Oakland often makes bold moves in the draft because owner Al Davis covets size and speed. Pryor ran a 4.36 in the 40 during his workout for 17 NFL teams Saturday. At 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, he is similar in height to JaMarcus Russell, the LSU quarterback chosen No. 1 overall by the Raiders in the 2007 draft. But Pryor is much more mobile. As a junior, Pryor had his best season statistically, throwing for 2,772 yards and 27 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He also ran for 754 yards and four scores while helping the Buckeyes win the Sugar Bowl. Oakland's starting quarterback is Jason Campbell, now in his second season with the Raiders after being acquired from Washington, where he spent five seasons. Also eligible for the draft were former Georgia running back Caleb King, former Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson, former Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones, former Lindenwood University defensive end Keenan Mace, and former North Caorlina defensive end Mike McAdoo.

Branch carries on with productive season after suspension is overturned

Branch carries on with productive season after suspension is overturned

FOXBORO – The first snap of the game for the Los Angeles Rams offense was an inside handoff to running back Todd Gurley. He was summarily stuffed by Patriots defensive lineman Alan Branch for a 1-yard loss.

It was happenstance, of course, that the Rams chose to run right at Branch. But it was no coincidence that the Branch was there to envelop Gurley like an upright sofa. The 6-foot-6, 350-pound, 31-year-old has been doing that all season. And on Saturday, word broke that he will be able to continue doing so, uninterrupted by NFL discipline.

PATRIOTS 26, RAMS 10

Branch, who was set to be suspended by the NFL for testing positive for marijuana, had his suspension rescinded by the league. The league did so without hearing the appeal Branch filed. Apparently, they decided they just got it wrong. The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports that the traces of marijuana in Branch’s system were from a previously failed test and did not constitute a separate incident.

It’s been a strange season for Branch, a quirky, goofy, good-natured guy who dances during practices, stretching, on the sidelines and in between plays more than any other Patriot. That’s if any other Patriot actually dances. Branch was suspended by the team for a week during training camp. Reason unknown.

Regardless, his play’s been very good.

“This has definitely been the most productive year I’ve had so far,” he said. “Is it my best? When it comes to numbers it probably would be but there’s a lot of plays and a lot of games I could have done better. I’m kinda my own worst critic.”

Why has he been so productive?

“It’s a good defense for me,” he explained. “The playcalls and way we play goes to my strength to allow me to make plays and I’m making them.”

Branch has 40 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble this season. He had just that lone tackle on the stat sheet on Sunday, but he was a factor even if the stats don’t say so. During one first-half rush, Branch worked upfield with a bull rush, then spun back to his right to get in the face of Rams quarterback Jared Goff, forcing an incompletion.  

“That’s all reaction,” said Branch. “That was a hard day’s work on that play because I kept reacting and reacting and then I was right there. I just get out there and try to cause some ruckus.”

Meanwhile, the would-be suspension caused a ruckus for Branch prior to Saturday.

“I was upset because I knew I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “Having my name out there for my family and friends and my kids family and friends to see, you never want to have that on you. But I just wanted to go out there and take it one day at a time and play my best ball because I felt pretty confident that I was going to win the appeal or whatever was going to happen. I expected it because I didn’t see how it could go any other way when I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Asked if the league reached out to apologize for getting it wrong, Branch said, “I haven’t gotten anything yet. I haven’t read any emails yet, I haven’t opened my emails.”

Asked if he cares to hear an apology, Branch said, “I do care. I don’t know if it’s an apology or what (that he’s seeking) but the position I was put in was something else.”