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Pryor: 'You have to withstand the pressure' of rookie season

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  April 20, 2010 12:00 PM

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myron-pryor.jpgWearing a gray Northwestern athletics t-shirt and Kentucky blue basketball shorts, Patriots' defensive lineman Myron Pryor met with a small group of reporters at Gillette Stadium this morning.

The 23-year old Louisville native is relieved to have survived his rookie year, a year in which the sixth-round draft pick played in 13 games, mostly backing up Vince Wilfork.

"It was like everybody said it would be: it was real hard. It was real tough," Pryor said. "Coaches are real hard on you. You have to withstand the pressure...you don't want to break. There's a lot of pressure, but once you get through it, it's a big relief. Everything just begins to get a little easier."

Pryor has been working on his strength and flexibility this offseason in an effort to make sure he doesn't have any of those nagging injuries that can derail a player during the season. He feels "10 times better" now than he did at this time last year, just before he was drafted.

As for what he's been working on, Pryor said he's focused on "reading my keys much faster. Obviously learning the defense is very hard, so learning what your responsibility is and responding to the play, that's something I want to get better at. And I think working on my double-teams, because that's hard."

With the NFL draft getting underway in two days, Pryor was asked about his own experience. He had a cookout with family and friends, and it was a long day as he waited to hear his name. But once it happened, it was a tremendous feeling.

"I was like, 'wow, I can't believe it.' Seeing my mom and my grandmother, they raised me, they were the only ones that were really there for me -- they were bawling down tears, like, 'oh my God, my baby,'" Pryor said, chuckling at the memory. "They were all over me...It was a very happy day."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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