QB Pryor will start against Chargers

Published: Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 - 7:02 pm

ALAMEDA – Ready or not, here he comes.

Terrelle Pryor will start the Raiders' regular-season finale Sunday at quarterback against the Chargers in San Diego, coach Dennis Allen announced Friday.

"I feel that I'm ready," Pryor said. "I felt comfortable. I felt like a leader in the huddle when I was in there. I feel good about it and look forward to the opportunity."

Allen said Pryor and backup Matt Leinart had been told earlier in the week that Pryor was the likely starter in place of Carson Palmer, who is out with a bruised lung and cracked ribs.

"I wanted to see how each player responded," Allen said. "I thought Terrelle responded well. I think he gives us a unique element of athleticism at the quarterback position, and I think he deserves to get an opportunity to get out there and see what he can do."

It will be Pryor's first start since leading Ohio State to a 31-26 win over Arkansas while being named MVP of the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4, 2011.

A third-round supplemental draft pick in 2011, Pryor was a late arrival last preseason, then served a five-game suspension imposed by the NFL related to NCAA infractions for accepting improper benefits.

Active for the last four games this season, Pryor got three snaps in each of the last two games – a three-and-out series against the Kansas City Chiefs and three plays in specialty situations as a shotgun quarterback against Carolina.

Pryor described his ascension as a "progression," starting with making the team, eventually becoming active, getting a few plays, and "now it comes to this. Will I respond? We'll see Sunday. I'm confident."

Leinart, who was 16 of 32 for 115 yards with an interception after replacing Palmer on Sunday against the Panthers, said he felt Allen was leaning toward Pryor all along but promised, "I'm going to help him. Anything he needs. The competitor in me wants to start, but I understand they need to evaluate him."

Allen said the decision was based on giving the Raiders (4-11) the best chance to win against the Chargers (6-9), as well as keeping an eye toward 2013.

"We've been around Terrelle for a whole season, and we know what his strengths are, we know what his weaknesses are," Allen said. "To give him an opportunity, against a division opponent at their place, it gives us a view into the future."

Notes – Brandian Ross will start at cornerback opposite Michael Huff, as Phillip Adams was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury.

• Right guard Mike Brisiel remained out with an ankle injury and is questionable, with Tony Bergstrom prepared to start if necessary.

• Cornerback Cory Nelms and defensive tackle Brandon Bair were promoted from the practice squad to replace Adams and Richard Seymour, who went on the IR on Thursday. Nelms will be active as a reserve cornerback and special-teams player, Allen said.

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Read more articles by Jerry McDonald



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