NEW YORK (AP) - It took all of three plays for Calvin Pryor to make an impact for the New York Jets.
Boom! Fumble recovery.
And that merely set the tone for the first-round draft pick’s NFL debut.
“A lot of guys, they questioned me because I had a concussion,” Pryor said of the media after the Jets’ 25-17 win at Cincinnati on Saturday night. “They felt like I wasn’t going to be as aggressive when I came back. That’s the way I play football. I try to play lights out.
“I try to put fear in my opponents.”
The hard-hitting safety entered the game early in the second quarter after missing the preseason opener following a concussion that sidelined him for a chunk of training camp. On third down, Rex Ryan sent Pryor on a blitz - and he blasted through the offensive line as Demario Davis sacked Matt Scott and caused a fumble.
Pryor was right there to pounce on it, setting up the Jets’ first touchdown.
“That was only step one,” he said. “I came out here to make plays tonight and I got more comfortable within myself as the game went on.”
He finished with a team-leading seven tackles, including one on special teams, two passes defensed, and the fumble recovery. He seemed to be all over the field and always around the ball while playing in a team-high 48 snaps on defense.
All of that came after some wondered if Pryor would be a bit tentative after dealing with a concussion early in camp.
Not a chance.
“Give him a plus,” Ryan said. “I don’t know, he forced like two fumbles and knocked some dudes out. I guess we were right on that one.”
While Ryan’s secondary drew some heat for a shaky performance against Andy Dalton and the Bengals’ starters, Pryor was a huge positive later in the game, even if it was just preseason and he was playing against backups.
“He did a really good job,” quarterback Michael Vick said. “He’s a football player. He made the plays he’s supposed to. That’s why he was drafted No. 1.”