Burleson: 'Nothing handed to me'
APR 07, 2014 4:11p ET
However, Nate Burleson said nothing has been promised to him.
"It's just like anybody else coming in -- earn my keep and try to compete for a job," he said on a conference call Monday." It's like anything else. Going out and competing for an opportunity and in 11 years I've been everything from a No. 1 (receiver) to a No 3.
"It's less about a title and more about your production," he said. "I could care less what they label me, but it's about production. More about being consistent and helping this team win. Nothing is being handed to me, and that's how I like it."
Burleson, 32, said he learned a long time ago when he was a rookie with the Vikings in 2003 after being a third-round choice how Randy Moss and Marcus Robinson helped him and he said he has made a practice of helping younger players.
"It's very important to me and what was given to me when I first got into the league," he said. "I had guys like Randy Moss and Marcus Robinson competing with me. I'm going to embrace those I'm competing with."
Burleson has been called a good locker room presence and Browns GM Ray Farmer mentioned that was one of the factors that drew the Browns to him.
"We're happy to welcome Nate to the Browns locker room and family," Farmer said in a statement. "We added Nate because we believe he can play like a Brown, with the added veteran presence that can help young players reach their potential. He's a pro's pro.
"He's the quality-character person that understands the NFL from all angles and sides," he said. "He can play, which is evident in his beginning to last season prior to missing time, with production and value. He will improve our roster and overall competition at the wide-receiver position."
Burleson (6-0, 198) said he expects to earn the respect of the other players by being a playmaker.
"I want to earn respect by making plays," he said. "Lead by example and lessons are learned when the jerseys are off. I spent so much time off the field with Calvin (Johnson) and that's how we got so close."
Burleson played with Johnson the past four seasons with the Lions and saw him blossom into one of the best, if not the best, receiver in the NFL. He was asked his thoughts on Gordon.
"I haven't spent enough time with him to compare, but I was asked those same questions about Calvin after playing with Randy," he said. "Time will tell. Calvin Johnson is the best receiver hands down, but that took a couple of years to see that."
Burleson said Johnson was very complimentary of Gordon.
"He's a talent and for a guy like Calvin who doesn't say much, to say 'Josh is good', that says something."
Farmer said his goal has been to create more competition throughout the team.
"Like we've said all along, improving the competition at each position and adding pillars to the roster are important to us," Farmer said. "We want guys that embody the needed traits, players who are passionate, tough, relentless, productive, instinctive and competitive -- all of which symbolize what it means to play like a Brown. Nate has competed to earn his opportunities and we're excited to have him join the Browns."
Burleson said last season he was well on his way to a big season when he had a mishap and broke his arm in a one-car accident.
"I was watching a game with some guys and afterwards was taking home pizza, ribs, salads for the family and I got on the freeway and I reached over to keep the pizzas from slipping and tried to overcorrect and ended up with my arm wrapped on the steering wheel so hard I fractured my arm."
Burleson had a good season going before the accident, which cost him seven games.
"It was unfortunate because I felt we were having a really good season and had a good rhythm with Matt (Stafford). I knew it was going to have an impact on the team and it did."
He still had as much production as Greg Little did and only played half a season with 39 receptions for 461 yards and one touchdown in nine games.
Little caught just 41 passes for 465 yards with two touchdowns in a full season for the Browns.
In his career, Burleson has 457 receptions for 5,630 yards (12.3 avg.) with 39 touchdowns. He also has 40 carries for 257 yards.
Burleson is confident he can have a positive impact on the Browns offensive production, despite being in his 12th NFL season.
"Injuries have hurt my success the last couple years and I put up over 400 yards in half a season (last year)," he said. "I can move the chains and with the pieces with the young guys (in Cleveland), I can help."
Burleson said the Dolphins were interested in signing him and didn't want him to make the trip to Cleveland, but he had the trip to the Browns lined up and wanted to explore the opportunity with them.
"I left Miami and they were interested and I said this is a business and I had to take this trip to Cleveland and I was glad I did," he said. "I had a sitdown with the head coach and the receivers coach and was very comfortable (with signing here)."