Burleson: Dez Bryant is no Megatron

Updated: October 23, 2013, 1:16 PM ET
By Michael Rothstein | ESPN.com

Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson scoffed when he heard that Dez Bryant said he believed he could do whatever Calvin Johnson can. 

Burleson has played alongside Randy Moss. He's played with Johnson. And he doesn't believe the Dallas Cowboys wideout is there yet.

"Listen, I like Dez," Burleson said Tuesday. "I think he's one of the best receivers in the game right now. Very talented, fast, big, strong -- he possesses all the tools to possibly be as good as Calvin.

"But he's not Calvin Johnson. No way, no how. Sorry, Dez. Keep it real."

The conversation started because of a radio interview Bryant gave Monday on 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas.

Bryant expressed a lot of reverence for Johnson. But when asked what the Detroit Pro Bowler does that he can't, Bryant answered with pride in himself.

"I believe I can do whatever he can do," Bryant told the station. "I think it's just a pride thing. When it comes to football, just being on the field, it's a mindset and having a mentality. I honestly believe when I'm there, I'll be feeling like there's nothing I can't do. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'm going to do it."

Bryant took to Twitter on Tuesday in response to how others have perceived his self-confidence. 

Burleson also called Johnson, who is 28 and in his seventh season, "a living legend."

Johnson has 33 catches for 492 yards and six touchdowns this season, although he missed one game and was limited in another by a knee injury. Bryant has 42 catches for 569 yards and six touchdowns.

On a conference call Wednesday, Lions coach Jim Schwartz was asked about the similarities between Bryant and Johnson.

"[Bryant] is one of the best receivers in the NFL, as is Calvin, and I think that's about the only comparison that you need to make between those two guys," Schwartz said. "Every player is different. Every player has things that they do well and things they do well within the scheme and things like that.

"We're going to have our hands full getting Dez Bryant stopped, and I'm sure Dallas is working really hard to find a way to get Calvin stopped."

Schwartz sees a different Bryant than the one he prepared for in 2011. Bryant caught three passes for 37 yards and had two touchdowns in the Cowboys' 34-30 loss to the Lions at AT&T Stadium.

"[Bryant] is playing like a veteran player now," Schwartz said. "He's taken the load of the No. 1 receiver. That's a big burden to be the No. 1 receiver. You're going to see attention every week. You're going to see double-teams. You're going to see corners rolled to your side, and it's a big mental adjustment to go through that.

"I think that Dez Bryant has done that. He's made big plays for them. He's always been a really strong player, but you just see him maturing as a player, and I think that's good for the NFL when you see young players improve like he has."

Burleson also addressed his recovery status Tuesday, saying he lifted weights and was being fitted for a Kevlar brace on his left forearm. He hasn't played since breaking his forearm while reaching to save a sliding pizza box, causing a single-car crash on Sept. 24.

Burleson ruled himself out for Sunday against Dallas but appears closer to potentially playing against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 10, following the Lions' bye week.

ESPN.com Cowboys reporter Todd Archer contributed to this report.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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