Burleson wants to help Browns offense
CLEVELAND – Nate Burleson has a lot to say for a player who has contributed very little in training camp.
The Browns veteran receiver was his usual talkative self with reporters after Thursday’s practice. He said his injured hamstring has improved to the point that he might be able to play Saturday against the St. Louis Rams.
The offense needs all the help it can receive at the receiver positions. Coach Mike Pettine listed Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins as certain contributors, but he left the door wide open for filling the remaining spots.
Burleson, a veteran of 11 seasons, was signed to provide a passing option in the short and mid-range areas. His production has dropped since he caught 73 passes for 757 yards in 2011.
Burleson’s injury issues have created conversation that the 33-year-old might be contemplating retirement. He said his only thought about retiring was in connection with winning a Super Bowl and walking away.
“I want to be the best 33-year-old receiver and decide from there,” Burleson said.
HOLDING UP: Pettine said that receiver Josh Gordon has maintained a positive attitude as he awaits a decision by an arbitrator concerning his appeal of a drug-related suspension. Pettine admitted that he had a talk with Gordon after the player showed a lack of effort last Monday against the Washington Redskins.
“He had two good practices this week,” Pettine said.
Burleson said that Gordon has been good behind the scenes.
“I can’t wait,” Burleson said of Gordon possibly avoiding a lengthy suspension.
AT HOME: Pettine will conduct today’s walk-through practice and the walk-through next Wednesday at First Energy Stadium. He wants the players to get used to the surroundings and simply know where to go on game days.
GOOD MOVE: Like all NFL coaches, Pettine welcomes the expansion of the practice squad from eight to 10 players.
“We’re excited about that,” Pettine said. “I think that’s a win for everybody. There are so many guys you end up moving on from that you really don’t want to.”
NO NEED: Offensive tackle Joe Thomas is considered a team leader, but he felt no need to address rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel concerning Manziel’s middle-finger gesture to the Redskins’ bench. Asked if he conferred with Manziel, Thomas waited a second and then said sternly, “No, I didn’t.”
DUNK CONTEST: Gordon was seen prior to the start of practice dunking the ball over a crossbar. A new rule prohibits any celebration where the goal post is used as a prop. New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was penalized twice for dunking in a recent game.
Pettine was OK with Gordon’s action. He will remind the players about any new rules before the season starts.
“If it doesn’t show up in the game, I’m fine with that,” Pettine said. “Ben Tate did a finger roll the other day over the goal post. I grabbed him and said, ‘You know, that’s not legal anymore.’ Some guys hear but don’t listen.”
INJURY REPORT: Working out on stationary bikes were Burleson; cornerbacks Isaiah Trufant, Pierre Desir, K’Waun Williams and T.J. Heath.