The question was put to Terrelle Pryor by a student at Iron Horse Middle School in San Ramon in late March during a Raiders community visit.

Why had the two-sport recruit selected football over basketball out of high school?

The answer had nothing to do with the thrill of a touchdown pass as compared to a dunk.

"There's just something about having 10 guys looking at you, expecting you to lead them," Pryor said. "I love that."

At the time, Carson Palmer was still the quarterback, with the Raiders a few weeks away from trading him to the Arizona Cardinals and bringing in Matt Flynn.

It was a decision which would ultimately lead to Pryor becoming the starting quarterback, given Flynn's struggles and Pryor's undeniable skllls and rapid improvement.

Pryor, who leads the Raiders (3-5) into Sunday's game against the New York Giants (2-6) at MetLife Stadium, takes his role as a leader seriously.

When the Raiders retuned to practice this week following a 49-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Pryor made sure he did so with a bounce in his step even after missing time in the fourth quarter with a knee strain.

"It's just a leadership thing," Pryor said. "Some guys may come in and be kind of sluggish and not really feeling it. ... You have to come forward and show them energy. It's about setting positive examples and getting guys to gather around and believe. We let that game slip, but let's go get the next one."

When the Raiders signed Jeff George in 1997, then-coach Joe Bugel scoffed at the notion that the club would miss the leadership of the departed Jeff Hostetler because, "leadership is throwing touchdowns."

In the wake of the Miami Dolphins harassment story involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, offensive coordinator Greg Olson pulled aside Pryor, backup Matt McGloin and practice squad quarterback Tyler Wilson to remind them being the quarterback goes beyond throwing touchdowns.