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CLEVELAND (AP) — Terrelle Pryor is uncovered, but maybe not for long.
The Cleveland Browns did not use a franchise tag Wednesday on Pryor, who had more than 1,000 yards in his first full season as a wide receiver in 2016, but the club intends to meet with his agents at the NFL combine to try and work out a long-term contract.
While he may hit the free-agent market, Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said the team sees Pryor as an important part of their future.
"We've had good conversations with Terrelle himself through the offseason, he and I have spoken a number of times. He and (coach) Hue (Jackson) have spoken. We do have some meetings set up with some representatives and we'll see what happens there. We're still looking forward to working toward finding some middle ground with Terrell to bring him back and have him as a Cleveland Brown for a long time."
Pryor has said he wants to stay with the Browns, who took a chance on the former Ohio State and Oakland Raiders quarterback changing positions. Pryor finished his first full season as a wide receiver with 77 catches for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns.
Pryor was one of the few bright spots as the Browns lost their first 14 games and finished 1-15.
He posted the impressive statistics despite Cleveland's constant turnover at QB. Brown said the club is not worried if they can't get a deal done before free agency opens on March 9.
"We'd like to have Terrell back and that's a priority for us," Brown said in Indianapolis as the combine opened.
"That said, we're not going to panic if he's not back. But he's a good player. He fits in our system, had a lot of success here with our coaches, so we think this is a great place for him to finish his career."
Although the Browns didn't place the $15.6 million franchise tag — the value for a top receiver — on Pryor, it doesn't mean the team doesn't think highly of him.
"We want to have him here long term as opposed to kind of a one-year temporary option," Brown said. "I think through my conversations, he understands. We value him a lot."
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