When wide receiver Nate Burleson signed with the Browns, he got a message from former Lions teammate Calvin Johnson.
Johnson told Burleson that Josh Gordon was a good receiver, which Burleson took as high praise from a player as talented and as quiet as Johnson. While Burleson plans to rebound after missing much of 2013 with a broken arm, saying he can “tap dance” to 1,000 receiving yards if healthy, he also thinks that he can help the team by mentoring Gordon off the field to help keep him out of the trouble that’s already led to a suspension.
“If I can take a guy out to dinner, hang out outside of the locker room, then I’m definitely going to do that because that’s one of the more important times when the lessons are learned, when you’ve got the jerseys off and you kind of unveil yourself and it’s not all football,” Burleson said, via the Akron Beacon Journal. “That’s how I got so close to the receiving corps in Detroit. That’s how I was able to really get to know Calvin on a personal level because we spent so much time with each other off the field. That’s the plan. I’m going to continue to do that. That’s part of my nature, though. That’s just who I am. I’m a social butterfly, and I feel like positive conversation, positive reinforcement is always going to supersede anything else.”
Running back Willis McGahee suggested Gordon needed a veteran receiver to mentor him last season, but the closest thing the Browns had was Davone Bess and his own off-field issues made him a poor choice for the role. Burleson has always been regarded as a strong locker room presence so he should be a better fit for that role as the Browns try to ensure Gordon is only a problem for the other 31 teams in the league.