BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns receiver Greg Little lost his starting job once.
He’s determined to not let it happen again.
Little was pulled as a starter after 2 games after catching just 8 of 22 passes thrown his way.
“My performance itself was a wake up call,” Little said. “Not being in the lineup that one game was [an] awakening but I am still working as hard as I always have.”
He came off the pine as a substitute the next 3 games before being reinserted into the starting lineup last week against Detroit.
Little admitted that the misfires with quarterback Brandon Weeden early in the season that led to his partial benching were more his fault than Weeden’s.
“It was more me than Brandon, pushing myself and trying to do more than what was there,” Little said. “Trying to hit a home run on every ball, normally just try to get a base hit and keep it moving.”
Little spoke for the first time Thursday in over a month but insisted that it wasn’t a ‘media boycott.’
“The media does not really bother me at all,” Little said. “I have never had a problem talking to the media or anything like that, I am just working on somethings and just keep on moving forward.”
Little has been a moving target since being drafted by the Browns in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft, and like Weeden, is a lightning rod for criticism among fans and media.
The constant traffic violations, dropped passes or his North Carolina past have not helped him.
“I do not mind taking it,” Little said of the criticism. “We are a team, the common goal is to win so I mean heat here or there doesn’t matter to me. We have to go out and play.”
He added that Weeden taking the brunt of fans anger and frustration is a bit unfair – but also part of the territory.
“They usually get the blame because it is the easiest thing to point out,” Little said. “I think once we get back in the swing of things and are winning, I am likely to see the same fans that boo are the same ones that cheer, so that is going to make me laugh that is for sure.”
According to STATS LLC., Little is tied for 17th in the league with 3 drops this season to date but he’s been targeted 42 times and come away with just 16 catches for 161 yards and a TD through 6 games.
“I think I am playing better,” Little said. “Of course, there are areas to get better in throughout the week. I am just going to continue trying to make plays and get better.”
He thought he made a critical catch early in the fourth quarter of the Browns’ 31-17 loss to the Lions on a 2nd and 25 up the sideline in front of the Browns bench. The play was challenged by head coach Rob Chudzinski but the officials, who had very few angles to look at, upheld the original call of an incompletion.
“That was a huge play in the game. I mean it obviously it was a drive that would have tied up the ball game,” Little said. “I would like to know what they where thinking, then it again it was just one play and one play never loses you a game.
“I knew for a fact, I remember the actual catch and knowing that I got 2 feet down and looking up at the jumbotron and watching the replay of it confirmed what I had actually had done.”
He finished the day with 2 catches for 12 yards – including a 2-yard touchdown.
Little has also been put on kick return duty with little or no success. He has averaged 21.6 yards on 7 returns but rarely crosses the 20.
“I did it in high school and did in it college my whole career,” Little said. “I was presented with the opportunity and loved it.”
His name has also surfaced along with fellow receiver Josh Gordon on the NFL trade rumor mill.
“I have not heard anything from participates that matter, so I am just going to continue to play hard,” Little said.
It starts with just catching the football.
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