JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The past five months have been rough on Jaguars safety Calvin Pryor.
The former first-round pick was traded from the New York Jets to the Cleveland Browns in June. Three months later, he was waived for the first time in his NFL career. The Jaguars claimed him off waivers the next day.
After two weeks of being inactive on game day, Pryor injured his ankle in practice and was placed on injured reserve.
"It was a freak injury, a freak accident as well," Pryor said. "I was guarding [tight end Marcedes Lewis] and it just happened on the turf and [my ankle] rolled the wrong way and it popped. That's all I can explain, I really don't remember too much from it, it just happened so fast."
Pryor spent several weeks hobbling around EverBank Field on crutches. Instead of taking advantage of a fresh start, Pryor played a waiting game on the sidelines and in the training room.
The Louisville alum stayed strong in his faith in order to adapt to the adversity in his own way. The 25-year-old found resolve and made it through a very rough period in his career.
"I just kept my faith in God," Pryor said. "It wasn't easy at all but at the same time, I just remained focused on being in the NFL and what a blessing it is to be here because it feels good to be wanted [by the Jaguars]."
Pryor was "designated to return" from the injured reserve on Wednesday by the Jaguars. It allowed Pryor to practice with the team for first time since his ankle injury in September.
The Jaguars have 21 days from the designation date to activate Pryor off injured reserve. The 5-foot-11, 208-pound safety is just happy to be participating in the daily grind with his teammates.
"I've been able to do football activities, so just to be back out there with the guys, just to have that camaraderie," Pryor said. "They've been playing great football and I feel like I can just add on to it. It just feels good to be back."
The Jaguars claimed Pryor off waivers because they felt he still had the potential to help their defense. With 44 games (38 starts) under his belt, Pryor is easily the most experienced depth player in the Jaguars' secondary.
Pryor's upside showed in brief spurts while with the Jets. During his New York tenure, Pryor produced 191 tackles, 14 pass breakups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
The safety will have little time to dwell on his past accomplishments, especially after his surprising release from the Browns. If Pryor wants to avoid the same fate in Jacksonville, he will not only have to return to the field but produce immediately.
His return isn't guaranteed, neither is his production.
For now, Pryor will just prepare like he has in the past, waiting for his next opportunity to make a play.
"I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent but getting close to it," Pryor said. "[Wednesday was] my first day out there going full [speed] and I felt pretty good, so as long as I can continue to do football activity I'll be fine."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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