Jets safety Calvin Pryor signed his rookie contract Monday, ensuring the much-hyped first-round pick wouldn't miss offseason workouts or training camp. While getting the deal done was important to him, he said it was equally important to not miss time on the field.
Pryor learned a lesson from last year's top selection, Dee Milliner. The Alabama cornerback, who was taken No. 9 overall by the Jets in the 2013 NFL Draft, missed offseason workouts recovering from a shoulder injury and ended up as a training camp holdout while a deal was worked out. The time away from the field cost him valuable reps where he could have been learning the defense and getting settled in.
Some of Milliner's early season struggles last year can be attributed to his absence.
“I didn't want to have the issue going into training camp or anything further down the line where I have to sit out or not focus on ball,” Pryor said. “Now that it's over, I can focus on the ball. I didn't want this lasting long. I wanted it done and I wanted to be here and not have that distraction.”
Last week, Pryor told Milliner that the deal was close to being done, news that was greeted warmly by the Jets cornerback. Milliner's advice, according to Pryor, was “to take care of it, get as good of a deal as you can and then focus on ball.”
Beyond the fresh ink on his contract, Pryor was back on the field on Wednesday after dental surgery precluded him from participation in organized team activities last week. Pryor was eager to make up for the reps and get back into the thick of things.
Head coach Rex Ryan had Pryor run with the first-team defense in an effort to get him more comfortable and not rely on the veterans around him. According to Ryan, he showed well in his understanding of the defense.
Last week, he had three wisdom teeth removed and Wednesday represented his first time back on the field since the surgery.
“I had to sit out a couple days, let my wisdom teeth heal a bit,” Pryor said. “I'm kind of recovering from that. Everything is good — hurts a little bit now and then.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.