Been on assignment for a week on a longer story related to the NFL, so it’s time to catch up with things Browns ...
There’s a lot to like about a guy who’s honest and isn’t afraid to be honest.
In Nate Burleson, the Browns may have signed the most honest and open player in the N-F-of-L. In a conference call this week with the Cleveland media, Burleson opened up in his candid way, saying of himself: “I’m your typical wide receiver diva so I love attention.”
But he said it in the context of being accessible and available to address issues. The good thing is when he does it, he seems to do it the right way ... with a fair amount of perspective and balance.
It’s always interesting how labels are immediately applied to a player. A year ago, the Browns traded for Davone Bess and he suddenly became the “veteran presence” and “veteran leader” for the receivers. Even though nobody knew much about him in Cleveland.
That move obviously did not work out.
Now Burleson is given the title, though in his case it’s a title that’s been earned by the way he approached things in Detroit the last few years, where he was much appreciated by the team and media for the way he approached his job. He was approachable on any topic, and he spoke his mind without giving away secrets (yes, it can work).
“I’m going to embrace (the role),” Burleson said. “No matter who it is.”
And by that he meant starter or undrafted free agent trying to make an impression.
“You give back to the league what’s been give you,” Burleson said.
All this of course is based on production. If Burleson is productive on the field the words mean a lot more. Last season he missed seven games after breaking his arm, but he was productive when he played, with 39 catches and 461 yards.
He also talked about chemistry with the quarterback, though he does not know who the quarterback will be.
“I don’t know much about what decision they’re going to make from a coaching or organizational standpoint,” he said. “The good thing is I’m putting on a jersey, so I’m not paid to make those decisions.”
And he even gave a shoutout to that Cleveland Browns tradition: The Great Lakes Classic. Which to the uninitiated is the annual preseason game between the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. The game that Carmen Policy commissioned “The Barge” trophy to be presented to the winner.
Burleson called what has come locally to be known as the “GLC” the most competitive preseason game.
In the pantheon of understanding what matters to Browns fans, Burleson hit on a key one.
This seems to be a guy with a few things going for him.