BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert is not afraid of work, and he plans on doing whatever is necessary to get on the field and help the team win, early and often.
Right now, what is necessary is learning the system, and showing his skills to the front office, coaching staff, and his teammates.
"I'm enjoying it, just really focusing on what I have to do here," Gilbert said after last Saturday's rookie mini-camp practice. "The first thing is the playbook and earning respect from the older guys. I've been enjoying my teammates so far, and I'm looking forward to this season.
"I don't have to convince myself, at all, (to watch tape). That's the type of person that I am. I'm always humble. Hard work beats talent any day, so that's something I focus on each day I come to work."
In addition to learning the Browns' defensive system from defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil and assistant defensive backs coaches Aaron Glenn and Bobby Babich, Gilbert is focused on perfecting his craft by interacting with Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden.
"We talked about some coverage things," Gilbert said. "He talked about helping me with my technique, playing off-man. I still have some things I need to work on playing press-man and things, but as far as communication, we've been communicating pretty well."
In 51 career games at Oklahoma State University, Gilbert intercepted 12 passes -- including a career best seven takeaways in 2013 -- broke up 27 others, collected 182 tackles and made 157 solo stops.
But in addition to his defensive prowess, Gilbert was a return specialist for the Cowboys.
He gained 2,681 yards, scored six touchdowns and averaged 26.28 yards over 102 career kickoff returns in four years at Oklahoma State. And returning kickoffs, or covering them, at the NFL level is something Gilbert is "most definitely" willing to do.
Gilbert finished his college career as the second-best kickoff returner in Oklahoma State and Big 12 Conference history, and his six kickoff-return touchdowns are a Cowboys record.
"We've been working the special teams and I've been catching kicks," Gilbert said. "Whichever way I can play a big role in this team, whether it be kick return, playing a gunner, destroyer on the outside, wherever I can get playing time and be able to help the team, I'll willing."