The Post’s Steve Serby chats with new Jets receiver Terrelle Pryor on his approach to the game, playing for many different teams, and why he hasn’t yet made a bigger impact in the NFL:
Q: Do you consider yourself uncoverable one-on-one?
A: I can be. I can be. I have a lot of work to do. All last year I had that injury with my ankle. It’s kind of a setback to me. But I feel very good right now, and I just need to get back squaring up with a guy and beating a guy and shading him and staying tight to him. So when I get back to that, I can be. And I will be.
Q: What is your on-field mentality?
A: I’m chill, pretty relaxed. I just do my job until I get pissed off, and then I’m gong to do whatever I can to make a fool out of you.
Q: What pisses you off on the field.
A: Some guy starts talking, calling you silly stuff even though people don’t mean it, but they just do it just because that’s what they know. That’s how they talk stuff, that’s how they try to get under your skin. Well it doesn’t get under my skin. It makes me mad — not mad where I lose sight on my goals and what we’re trying to accomplish as a team, but it makes me mad where I want to do something and embarrass you.
Q: Who’s the best trash talker?
A: I don’t know. I don’t think I met him yet. It doesn’t get to me. It just makes me mad. It just makes me play more physical, you know?
Q: You haven’t had the kind of NFL career that you envisioned.
A: I don’t think so. Not yet. But I could change it right now. But not yet.
Q: Why do you think that is?’
A: I mean, seven years so far. … It feels like I’m changing teams every year. I want to have somewhere that’s a home where somebody appreciates me. Obviously I’m not doing something right. When I was with the Browns, they wanted me to sign, and obviously business is business. I want to be somewhere where I want to retire after five, six years. Hopefully I could do that here. I love this place. I love this city. I love this organization. The people here are spectacular.
Q: Why did you turn down the Browns’ offer (four years, $32.5 million, $17 million guaranteed)?
A: I was better than the deal.
Q: You had a difficult upbringing?
A: Living motel to motel room late at night, trying to see which one’s open, stuff like that. Sometimes picking the locks.
Q: Did your father work?
A: He had CMP (Chronic Myofascial Pain).
Q: How old were you at the time?
Q: How does that affect a young kid?
A: I got resilience from my mother. She worked three, four jobs.
Q: What was the low point?
A: I think it was when she was an alcoholic and she was doing whatever. I used to live in the Projects in Pittsburgh, and she would like leave me in the house by myself. Not that I never heard like gunshots, but several times there’s like bullets and stuff coming through our windows and I’m home alone, I’m a 7, 8, 9, 10-year old kid by myself. At that point I’m just like, “Damn, I’m here by myself.” My sister was living with my father before my dad passed away, my brother was locked up in a school out in Philadelphia.
Q: Why was your brother locked up?
A: He made mistakes in his life.
Q: Sports was your way out?
A: I had good people in my corner. I just lucked out. I just feel like anybody can make it if you have great talent and you have smarts, you have to be willing to listen is a key because there’s so many hardheaded knuckleheads out there. I think God that he gave me the patience and understanding to be able to listen. I chose to work hard and continue to work and try to make a name for myself. There’s guys that are just as talented as me that we’d probably be talking about, but they just chose a different path.
Q: If you could test your skills against one cornerback in NFL history.
A: I played Darrelle Revis when he was about to retire. I would want to play him like in his prime. They literally said he was on an island, and he was just like such a freak and talented corner. I would want to play him to see like how great he was.
Q: What do you think about Zach Brown’s comments about you catching a forearm if you try to make a one-handed catch in the scrimmage with the Redskins?
A: It’s just football, man.
Q: Do you want to prove something to them?
A: Nah. It’s just football. It didn’t work out. I got injured, they know that. It is what it is. I think they’re all great players, and I’m excited to go up there (Richmond) with my head coach (Todd Bowles), who I think’s a darn good head coach. … We got a great offensive coordinator (Jeremy Bates), a great defense, and I’m excited to get up there with my guys and get better, and that’s what I think we’re going to be up there doing.
Q: What drives you?
A: My son drives me for sure. My mom — I want to get to the point where she doesn’t have to work. She has a lot of back problems, a lot of body part problems. And I think just watching my teammates sweating and bust their butts on the field every day in practice. I think that’s what really drives me. And also the coaches, because they’re in it with us. It is a business, but they’re counting on (me). … They picked me for a reason, so they’re counting on me to do something for them. Somehow, we’re here to help their families. I’m here to help the quarterback’s family, I’m here to help the defense’s families. Somehow, it all plays a part. So, I think that’s something that motivates me is not to let anybody down. And then when I do, that’s probably more heartbreaking than anything. When you let somebody down, an organization.
Q: If you could pick the brain of one receiver in history.
A: I already picked from one of the best, probably the best, Randy (Moss). I can call him, text him whenever I want.
Q: What was the best piece of advice he gave you?
A: I think it’s just collectively. Just how his mentality is that there’s a guy in front of you, but he’s not really there so just run. You’re just playing and you’re feeling your feet, feeling your motions of your body and you’re just making some moves and then you’re running. We’re clearing the air, let’s just go get the ball, nobody can stop you from that.
Q: What was it like being you in high school? You were The Next Big Thing, a quarterback who drew comparisons to Vince Young, and an all-state basketballer.
A: You got like coaches trying to recruit me, bringing helicopters, trying to fly on top of buildings.
Q: You probably thought you could do whatever you wanted to on a basketball court and on a football field, right?
A: Ah, yeah. I believed I could dunk on anybody, and I believed I could do anything I wanted on the football field. And I still do think that.
Q: What was Joe Paterno’s visit to your home like?
A: That was pretty crazy. I just walked in there and to just meet a legend like that. There’s nobody close to God, but he’s a football god, in a sense.
Q: Do you miss playing quarterback?
A: Sometimes I do. Sometimes if you get that little thread and throw it, and it feels like a little perfect spiral, and then the next throw I see why I’m not playing.
Q: What has been your best NFL moment?
A: There’s three — being in the Hall of Fame for two different things, that 93-yard run (on a QB read-option with the Raiders). I still got the record, the most yardage running-receiving-throwing versus Miami in 2016. … I think this year, just being with the Jets, being with a great organization like this, it motivates me to keep going forward.
Q: LeBron James?
A: He was my mentor in college, and I spoke to him for about three years, he would send me inspirational messages and texts back and forth, so that was a pretty cool time learning a little bit about him and how he kind of guided me.
Q: How did he become your mentor?
A: One day he walked in the facility and we exchanged numbers.
Q: How often would he give you messages?’
A: Practically three times a week. The unique thing about LeBron is I texted him one time, and he didn’t get back to me for like two days, and he texted me, “I apologize. I was in China. Sorry I missed your text.”
Q: The Knicks need help, do you think you could help them?
A: Man, these knees (smile), they’re only good for this soft grass. I’ll give you a good 10 minutes, that’s about it. I’ll stick some of them, we might have to set it up. I still got freaky ability, man. I’m strong, I can move laterally.
Q: I can tell David Fizdale, the new coach, you’re offering 10 minutes a game?
A: (Laugh). Yeah definitely tell him, just to make him laugh. … Hey, I don’t put anything past God.
A: Last year getting injured.
Q: What about Tattoogate (Pryor was suspended by the NCAA for selling Ohio State memorabilia and receiving improper benefits from tattoo parlor owner).
A: That thing was fugazy. People just don’t know what they’re talking about.
Q: But it affected you?
A: Yeah. I think you could say that. You could use your imagination on that one. For people to think that I would ruin the university. … From that to being suspended coming into the NFL, knowing that I was being suspended (five games) and still got drafted in the third round. What may have happened if I actually went to the draft. I don’t like really living in the past. I can live right now and say that I’m going to be a Jet and a damn good one.
Q: Boyhood idol?
A: Barry Sanders. I love electricity. People that are electric. He gave you that sense that any moment something electric could happen, so you always had to keep your eyes on the TV.
Q: Quarterbacks you liked to watch growing up?
A: The guys from back home — Joe Montana, Namath, Jim Kelly. Warren Moon wasn’t from there, but I looked up to him. Namath was from Pittsburgh. Obviously I wasn’t alive when he was playing, but I’ve watched video. My dad was a huge fan of quarterbacks and just football in general, so I would watch different guys. It made me want to be a quarterback.
Q: Which athletes in other sports do you admire?
A: Women’s basketball. It’s like so unfair in a way because the men make so much money, and the women are looking at us like, “Why can’t we make that?” … LeBron James. … Cristiano Ronaldo. Guys that are at their top, and they stay at the top for a reason ‘cause of their hard work.
Q: NBA players you liked to watch?
A: I was big on O.J.Mayo. Bill Walker would just come off with some of the freakiest dunks you would ever see.
Q: DeNunzio’s in Jeanette, Pa.
A: I’ve been eating there since I was 15, 16, maybe even younger. I love Italian food.
Q: What’s the best dish there?
A: I’m a plain guy, so I like penne alfredo with like breaded chicken. I’m on a diet now, I wouldn’t even eat that right now.
Q: You weighed in at 233. What do you want to play at?
A: I want to be around 225.
A: Don’t disrespect people, treat people like you want to be treated. I think when you people the wrong way I think it comes back to you one way or another.
Q: Five dinner guests?
A: Jesus, Denzel, Al Pacino, Tupac, Will Smith.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: The Godfather.
Q: Life after football?
A: Hopefully, I’m a stay-at-home dad.
Q: Your son Terrelle Pryor II is 4. Describe his personality.
A: Wild and wiry. He’s always smiling. And the most handsome smile. Kind of like me (chuckle).
Q: Personal goals?
A: Just be the best teammate I could be. . .whether that’s going out there and receiving a lot of yards and scoring touchdowns and just cheering for other teammates and doing all that fun stuff.
Q: Are you primed for a career year?
A: To be determined. We’ll have to wait and see.
Q: Do you think you have it in you?
A: Oh absolutely. But we’ll see.