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Cameron wants to remove 'basketball' label

Posted Sep 25, 2013

Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron is working hard to eliminate “basketball player” from his athletic resume and prove he has what it takes to succeed on the gridiron.

Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron may have started his post-high school athletic career as a basketball player, but the third-year professional is working hard, day-in and day-out, to eliminate that from the top line of his resume.

Instead, he wants it to read, “professional football player.”

“It is motivation, but frankly, I’m tired of hearing about basketball,” Cameron said. “I’m not a basketball player. I’m a football player now, and I guess it helps. Tight ends these days have basketball backgrounds, but I don’t want to be known as a basketball player.”

Cameron is off to a good start when it comes to putting his basketball-playing days in the past.

Cameron tied a team record when he hauled in three touchdown passes in the Browns’ 31-27 victory over the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday. He caught a touchdown on a fake field goal attempt in the second quarter, and hauled in the game-winning, seven-yard score with 51 seconds remaining in regulation in Minnesota.

“It’s one of those things I’ve been working on for I don’t know how long,” Cameron said. “It feels like forever. I’ve been very patient, just kept my head down and kept grinding every day and tried to focus on the little things.

“Sometimes, you can get caught up in hearing everyone else saying, ‘You’re not going to make it. You’re not good enough. You’re just a basketball player. You’re not athletic enough.’ I haven’t made it, by no means. I have a lot of work to do, and I’ve got to keep progressing each week. I’m just happy that it paid off and I was there for my teammates.”

Prior to the 2013 season, Cameron had 26 career receptions for 259 yards and one touchdown.

In the Browns’ first three games of the 2013 regular season, Cameron had 20 catches for 269 yards and four touchdowns. He is currently tied for seventh in the NFL in receptions and 11th in receiving yards, as well as second among tight ends in catches and yards. Cameron’s 24 points are tied for the second-most scored by non-kickers.

Cameron is nearly halfway to Pro Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome’s team record for receiving touchdowns by a tight end, which he set with nine during the 1979 season. He gives much of the credit for his success to tight ends coach Jon Embree.

“He knows what he’s doing, and I trust that whatever he tells me is going to work, and it’s been showing the last three weeks,” Cameron said. “He’s really detailed, and that’s the most important thing for me, as a young player, to get these details down and really focus on those things. He does a great job of that.”

But while Cameron deflects the attention, through hard work on and off the football field, he has earned the respect and praise of Browns coach Rob Chudzinski.

“He gets better every day out there,” said Chudzinski, himself a former tight end. “He’s a talented guy. You could see that physical part of it right from the beginning. It’s just a matter of him playing more, understanding the game better, and he’s really worked at it to make those strides. He’s made plays, and that’s the bottom line in this league, when you have the opportunity, you make plays, and he’s been able to do that.

“As far as Jordan goes, he’s very athletic. He’s very smooth. He runs faster than what it appears he’s running and moving, and he’s got tremendous hands, ball skills and he can jump. He’s just learning the nuances of the game and the position. As he continues to do that and get more reps, with the attitude he’s taken in growing as a player, he’ll continue to get better and better.”