EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Receiver Greg Little dropped a pass in the end zone that would’ve given the Browns a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. He caught one pass for 4 yards. He was replaced for long stretches by recent pickup Brian Tyms.
Little’s rookie contract runs through next season, but his future with the team is as cloudy as ever following a 24-13 loss to the Jets on Sunday.
“I sit and think about this a lot,” he said when asked if he wants to return. “A lot of guys go other places and have success, but I want to be here and part of the team that turns it around and takes this community, this city and the guys in this locker room to the playoffs.”
Does he think the Browns want him back?
“I don’t know, but I’d love to be part of the team and to be a part of something special here,” he said.
Little has 40 catches for 456 yards and two touchdowns on the year. He led the team with 61 and 53 catches his first two years.
He was taken out of the starting lineup for a bit earlier in the season and hasn’t solved his dropping problem, with eight for the year. A popular topic in training camp was how hard he’d been working, yet the results haven’t followed.
“I can’t, I really can’t,” when asked to pinpoint the reason. “When you have opportunities to make a play you have to make them. I didn’t have the season I wanted to have. I’ve just got to do a lot better.”
Little’s touchdown drop was an easy play over the middle. He juggled the ball and couldn’t secure it.
Tyms made the first two catches of his career for 12 yards.
Jets tight end Kellen Winslow has bragging rights.
Winslow, a first-round pick of the Browns in 2004, caught three passes for 35 yards and celebrated a win over his former team.
“It does feel good, but it feels good to just win. Literally,” he said. “We expected to win, that’s how we should go into the games.”
Winslow was called for holding safety T.J. Ward on the first Jets play from scrimmage. Later he exchanged words with cornerback Buster Skrine after a play, then hurdled him for a 16-yard gain on the next snap.
Winslow made a few headlines during the week when he told espnnewyork.com that nobody on the Browns could cover him. The Browns shot back, saying Winslow was past his prime and didn’t play much.
“Winslow, he’s a good dude,” Ward said. “He’s not a malicious player. He had a couple of catches today and it wasn’t like it was a battle or we were going to selfishly make that something between him and our defense. It was an offensive-defensive game and their offense beat us today. That’s all it was.”
Winslow has had multiple knee surgeries and has bounced around the league, but hopes to play again next season.
“I love football,” he said. “I live for this game. I wake up thinking about it, dreaming about it.”
A TASTE OF REVENGE
The Browns signed receiver David Nelson as a free agent in the offseason, then cut him at the end of the preseason. He made them pay for the Jets.
Nelson caught four passes for 33 yards, including touchdowns of 6 and 5 yards – his first of the year.
“It’s crazy because we’ve been practicing those two plays the past six weeks,” he said. “What you saw today was the product of six weeks of work.”
Nelson beat rookie safety Jordan Poyer over the middle in the second quarter, and cornerback Buster Skrine to the sideline in the fourth.
Nelson had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate last season and didn’t get healthy until the end of the preseason. The Browns didn’t see enough and cut him, despite lacking depth at receiver.
Cornerback Joe Haden (hip pointer) started and played most of the game, but didn’t finish.
“It started getting back to me a little bit,” he said. “It was hurting. It was two minutes left. It was time to pretty much not get hurt anymore.”
The Browns trailed 24-13.
Haden took a knee to the hip last week against the Bears and left the game. He didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, but returned Friday. He had two passes defensed and two tackles.
His status for the finale in Pittsburgh is uncertain.
“It’s just sore now. I’m going to go get treatment tomorrow and hopefully it gets better,” he said. “I was going, going, then adrenalin … it kind of calmed down a little bit. It started to hurt a little bit. I was fighting through it. It was cool that I was able to try to finish the game, though.”
Haden will learn if he makes his first Pro Bowl on Friday.
Nose tackle Phil Taylor left in the third quarter with a concussion.
** Defensive lineman John Hughes suffered a knee sprain.
** Defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi (knee) left the locker room on crutches after he was hit on the sideline when linebacker Barkevious Mingo shoved Jets quarterback Geno Smith in the second quarter. Cioffi went to the locker room, and defensive backs assistant coach Bobby Babich took his place.
** Umpire Butch Hannah left the game late in the first half with a concussion.
** Skrine returned after missing most of a first-quarter series with a back injury.
Josh Cooper did a nice job filling in as the slot receiver for Davone Bess, who was placed on the non-football illness list Saturday for personal reasons. Cooper played in three-receiver sets and tied a career high with four catches, for 26 yards.
Cooper caught a 5-yard pass on fourth-and-2 and an 11-yard hitch on the field-goal drive. He added another nice reaching grab for an 8-yard gain on third-and-5.
“I thought that Coop came out and played well,” quarterback Jason Campbell said.
Cooper entered the game without a catch on the season.
Running back Edwin Baker and tight end MarQueis Gray started the first games of their careers.
** The Browns’ inactives were tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion), left guard John Greco (knee), tight end Andre Smith (calf), quarterback Alex Tanney and offensive linemen Martin Wallace and Reid Fragel.
The Browns had only six inactives because Bess wasn’t replaced on the roster.
** Former Browns and Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde was at the game as a guest of the Jets. He was introduced to the crowd before the team.