OAKLAND -- When we last saw Terrelle Pryor at quarterback for more than a snap, he was piling up 336 yards of total offense for Ohio State in a 31-26 win over Arkansas and was named Most Valuable Player of the Sugar Bowl.
In the 20 tumultuous months that followed, Pryor was at the center of a memorabilia for pay scandal that put his school on probation, taken by the Raiders in the third round of the supplemental draft, served a five-week NFL suspension for his college sins and was little more than a lonely spectator for his rookie season.
That ends Monday night when Pryor is expected to get plenty of work as the third-team quarterback when the Raiders host the Dallas Cowboys at O.co Coliseum in the exhibition opener for both teams.
"I can't wait. It's been a long time for me to play football," Pryor said. "It's what I was born to do. God blessed me. He gave me great talent, and I can finally use it again. It's been a long time."
The depth chart appears set with Matt Leinart backing up Carson Palmer, but Pryor's stunning athletic skills make him a must-see exhibition attraction during portions of games where fringe players are fighting for roster spots.
Pryor ended a recent kill-the-clock drill with a bootleg in which he swept right end. He looked part freight train, part sports car. At 6-foot-4, 233 pounds, he is nearly as big as Tim Tebow and has speed to rival Michael Vick.
It was one of the few times Pryor has utilized his running skill. Since camp began, Pryor has been dutifully working on his footwork and on executing the offense. Running is a last resort as he learns his craft.
"I'm going to try and perfect the play, go through my reads," Pryor said. "If I keep my feet on time, I'll be good."
If his feet aren't on time, Pryor's passing can be erratic.
"It's a footwork thing, and it's a maturity thing," quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said. "He hasn't been in this league so it's kind of unfair to compare him to Matt and Carson because he hasn't played as much football or seen as many looks. But the more consistent he gets with his footwork, no doubt the more accurate he's going to be."
The mantra since the first day of camp from coach Dennis Allen, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and DeFilippo has been for Pryor to show improvement every day in some area.
Pryor's mission against Dallas is to play with the poise of a professional quarterback.
"We want good huddle procedure, get the play called right, and move the team," DeFilippo said.
As a rookie, Pryor's lone snap against Kansas City resulted in his own illegal procedure penalty. He was quiet and withdrawn and admittedly wasn't enjoying himself.
It's been a different Pryor since the offseason began in terms of demeanor. He has watched Palmer and Leinart closely and asked a lot of questions, trying to add to his knowledge while getting limited practice reps.
Pryor said his first choice will always be to make a play through the air -- buying time to throw instead of taking off and running. Safety Mike Mitchell said he'd like to see Pryor run it a little more often.
"We're all fast guys on defense, but if you don't get him in the first 10 yards, put your head down and start running," Mitchell said. "He's scary fast."
Receiver Dez Bryant is uncertain to play after leaving practice early Saturday because of hamstring tightness.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on Twitter at Twitter.com/Jerrymcd.