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Browns strike deal with free-agent wide receiver Nate Burleson, agent says

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 6, 2014

Nate Burleson has been the butt of many pizza-delivery jokes, but the Browns won’t care as long as he delivers for them.

The Browns struck a deal tonight on a one-year contract with Burleson, his agent, Ken Sarnoff, said. The team later confirmed an agreement had been reached. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.

With the move, the Browns bolstered the depth of their receiving corps and added someone they hope can mentor All-Pro Josh Gordon. The 6-foot, 198-pound Burleson visited the Miami Dolphins last week before traveling to Cleveland and meeting with the Browns on Saturday.

Burleson, 32, spent the past four seasons with the Detroit Lions. Burleson, who also played for the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, has started 103 of the 135 regular-season games in which he has appeared. However, injuries have limited him to only 15 games with 13 starts the last two seasons.

In 2013, Burleson caught 39 passes for 461 yards and a touchdown. His season was interrupted in September by an embarrassing injury that sidelined him for seven games. Burleson suffered a broken arm in a one-car accident caused by his attempt to keep a pizza he’d purchased from sliding off the passenger seat. The Lions stated there was no alcohol involved.

The Browns signed Andrew Hawkins last month to fill their void in the slot, but they still need a legitimate No. 2 wide receiver to start opposite Gordon. They could look for a player who fits that description in the draft, which will run May 8-10, though Burleson might be in the mix if he can stay healthy.

A third-round draft pick of the Vikings in 2003, Burleson had his best season during his second year in the NFL (68 catches for 1,006 yards and nine touchdowns).

Before injuries slowed him the past two seasons, Burleson had a career-high 73 catches for 757 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions in 2011. ranked Burleson 89th out of 111 wide receivers last season. By comparison, Davone Bess finished 108th and Greg Little 111th. The Browns cut Bess in March. Little is still with the team.

Below is a news release from the Browns.

BEREA, OHIO – The Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms with veteran free agent Nate Burleson, General Manager Ray Farmer announced Sunday night.

Burleson, a 6-foot, 198-pound wide receiver entering his 12th NFL season out of Nevada, has played in 135 regular-season games, with 103 starts. He has 457 career receptions for 5,630 yards (12.3 avg.) with 39 touchdowns. He also has 40 carries for 257 yards (6.4 avg.). Although he hasn’t returned kicks since 2010, he’s also averaged 9.8 yards on 156 career punt returns, including three TDs, and averaged 22.6 yards on 57 career kickoff returns.

He also has helped his teams to the playoffs on four occasions.

Initially Minnesota’s third-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft (71st overall), Burleson joins his fourth NFL team. After three seasons with the Vikings (2003-05), he signed with the Seattle Seahawks (2006-09). Most recently, he played the past four years (2010-13) with the Detroit Lions.

Burleson originates from O’Dea High School in the Seattle, Wash., area. The school also produced USC’s Taylor Mays, a DB now with the Cincinnati Bengals.


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