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Terrelle Pryor thought he was joining Patriots in 2015

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Terrelle Pryor will line up Sunday as Cleveland's top weapon through the air when the Browns host a back-from-the-wilderness Tom Brady and his mighty New England Patriots.

The Browns quarterback-turned-receiver has been a sensation for Cleveland's offense this season, leading the team in receptions and yardage. Pryor's emerged as a versatile asset for coach Hue Jackson -- but he was nearly Bill Belichick's.

"I really thought I was going to be a Patriot," Pryor told The Plain Dealer this month. "I know Bill Belichick really liked me. I had a great workout for them and everything went really well. I really thought he was going to sign me."

Pryor called his visit last autumn to New England "phenomenal," but felt that Belichick wasn't ready to take the leap "because he just wasn't sure my hamstring was 100 percent healed."

Belichick on Wednesday spoke highly of Pryor as a "very skilled athlete," telling reporters that the size-speed freak "has shown an ability to go up and get the ball, take it away from defenders with his length and ball skills and jumping ability and so forth."

Said Belichick: "We obviously didn't see that before but you see that now. He does a good job for them."

Credit goes to Jackson for showing tremendous faith in Pryor, who he also spent time with him in Cincinnati. In turn, Pryor has given Cleveland an unusual, hard-to-take-your-eyes-off-of asset -- and someone to build around as this winless-but-pesky Browns team searches for their first win of the year.

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