Veteran receiver Nate Burleson is entering his 12th season in the NFL, and as he tells Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, it might be his last. Turning 33 in nine days, Burleson indicated that he would feel comfortable hanging up his cleats if 2014 goes as planned with the Browns.
“…I don’t know, the goal is to have a career year and really ride off into the sunset the way I need to,” said Burleson. “A full 16 games. I want to give Cleveland what I wasn’t able to give to Detroit, which is a healthy Nate Burleson for a whole season.”
Burleson was a third-round draft pick by the Vikings in 2002, and four years later was involved in one of the more interesting NFL free agency tales. After the Vikings used “poison pill” stipulations to lure Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson to Minnesota, Seattle responded by utilizing the same tactics to secure Burleson’s services. The former Washington Huskie spent four season with the Seahawks before landing with the Lions in 2010. He was released during the offseason, and signed a one-year deal with the Browns in April.
In Cleveland, Burleson will join Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin on a receiving corps that will try to replace some of the production lost when Josh Gordon is suspended for either part or all of 2014. Like many players, he wants to make sure his physical health is still unimpaired when his playing career comes to an end.
“Ride off in the sunset, man. Why not?” he said. “If I can help this team and do it the right way, why not? Year 12, age 33, still got my limbs in tact to play with my babies.”