BEREA, Ohio -- Tight end Jordan Cameron was one of the biggest bright spots for the Cleveland Browns, and a surprise success in NFL circles during the 2013 regular season.
But even though Cameron earned an invitation to the Pro Bowl after turning 80 catches into 917 yards and seven touchdowns, he is working hard to make the 2013 regular season the launching point of his career and not the high-water mark.
"I have a lot of work to do," Cameron said after a recent training-camp practice. "I don't think I'm anywhere near where I could be. I'm still young in this game. I've really been playing football for about three-and-a-half years now. I have a lot to learn and I'm willing to do it and it's exciting for me going forward and I've got a lot to prove to myself.
"Last year, I was unproven. People didn't know if I could do it. There was a lot of doubt concerning if I could stay on the field, if I could make the plays, if the athleticism would meet the potential.
"This year, I have a lot more confidence knowing I can do it and make the plays and my teammates can rely on me and it's kind of a weight off my shoulders not worrying. I was confident, but it was like, 'Can I do this?' Now, it's pretty concrete that I can make things happen."
Not only does Cameron have more confidence in himself, but after seeing what he could do in an offense that was forced to play three quarterbacks in 2013, his teammates believe he can be a consistent playmaker when the lights shine brightest.
"He's so important and the thing that I respect about Jordan the most is he's always constantly working to get better," quarterback Brian Hoyer said. "He's a very talented guy. Obviously, we saw that last year. He's successful, but he's always trying to get better, and for me, when I see a guy like that, I know that he's going to be a guy that I can rely on because he's always going to do the right thing, go hard on every play. So, I don't have to necessarily zero in on him.
"I can go, get through my progressions and know that he's going to do the right thing. I think that you also talk about confidence. When you actually go out there and do it on the field, it helps you to kind of gain that confidence. You can see out there, he's' had a great camp, he had a great offseason, so he's definitely an integral part of this offense."
Much like Cameron himself, the Browns are hoping their Pro Bowl tight end will take "a step forward from last year," and be an even more potent weapon within offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme.
"I know the tight end in the past has been a big part of Kyle's offense, and we're excited to see that play out," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "He's been extremely coachable. He's been one of our hardest-working guys in the spring, worked very hard. He's on the JUGS machine a lot. He's constantly with (tight ends) coach (Brian) Angelichio after practice, trying to get some extra help, so he's a guy that's committed to taking another step to be an elite tight end.
"There are going to be some games where the tight end's going to be targeted the most. There might be some other games where he hardly gets any looks just based on what coverages they're playing and who they decide to take away."
Although Cameron was a focal point of the offense last season, his role could expand even more this year, depending on the availability of wide receiver Josh Gordon, who is awaiting word from the NFL regarding the appeal of his indefinite suspension because of a reported failed drug test in the offseason.
"That would be awesome," Cameron said of an expanded role. "That's what any guy wants, and if that can happen, that would be great, but whatever to make the team win, to make us better, that's all I really care right now. You want that (pressure).
"We'll see how it goes when the season progresses and the looks I'm going to get and like I said, Kyle's a smart guy and he'll figure out ways to move me around or whatever."