The Cleveland Browns wide receiver situation has been discussed about almost as much as their quarterback competition, and it’s been a hotter topic of discussion than their enticing running back competition between what could end up being a four-deep stable of backs. With Josh Gordon likely suspended indefinitely (we’re still waiting on the appeal), the Browns top receivers heading into 2014 will be injury-prone veteran Miles Austin, an aging Nate Burleson, the underrated Andrew Hawkins who was stolen away from the Cincinnati Bengals in restricted free agency, intriguing San Jose State rookie Chandler Jones, Anthony Armstrong, and two other interesting youngsters in Travis Benjamin and Charles Johnson. Hawkins and Burleson might be the only “safe” options, but the Browns have some interesting pieces there.
Austin was once one of the best receivers in the game during his prime years with the Dallas Cowboys, but they were forced to cut ties with him after an abysmal 2013 season. He just couldn’t stay healthy, and an injury that was only expected to cost him a few weeks ended up causing him to miss five games and play woefully ineffective football when he was healthy. Now 30, Austin caught just 24 passes last season after bringing in 66 in 2012.
That said, we have some good news on the health front for Austin, as Browns head coach Mike Pettine told the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot that the Browns “feel good” about his health. Pettine stated, We feel good about where Miles Austin is health wise, we’re very pleased with how Andrew Hawkins came out of camp, and then Nate Burleson will be ready to go and then we have some guys we think will be ready to battle it out,” when speaking about the Browns wide receivers at length.
This is good, thought not unexpected, news, and it’s worth passing along at this point in the calendar. Any good news relating to Austin should be met with cautious optimism, though, because the elephant in the room is whether or not he can stay healthy for the majority of a 16-game season; here’s to hoping he can.