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Burleson Weighs in on New Team, Stafford and Johnson

Posted Apr 5, 2010

For Nate Burleson, his first day of offseason conditioning was like the first day of school.

“You show up, you’re quiet,” he said. “I guess you watch and listen more than you actually speak.”

Burleson says he tends to go about his work quietly anyway, but he is anything but quiet once he hits the playing field.

As someone with a lot of energy who likes to celebrate, he can see himself taking on a leadership role with both the receiving corps and the offense as a whole.

“I’m going to try and step up and lead in as many ways as I can,” he said. “I don’t have too much false enthusiasm, so everything you’re going to see out of me is going to be authentic.”

Bringing in a receiver like Burleson instantly makes everyone else on the receiving corps better. With another viable option for second-year quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw to, other players within the progression should have more opportunities.

“I think he can be a big factor,” said wide receiver Calvin Johnson of Burleson. “Now we have a couple of guys that are definitely ready to play right away. We have at least four guys, who can go out there and play right now. So that’s going to be big.”

As the draft approaches, excitement can be felt among players and coaches considering all of the offseason moves that have already taken place.

“The one thing I’m hearing from the fans and from the guys within this organization: in so many words, they’re saying that this year’s a little bit different,” he said. “That’s what I keep hearing.”

Offseason acquisitions are playing a big part in the buzz surrounding the Lions, but even more significant is how those acquisitions are fitting in with Detroit’s existing talent.

Burleson is directly impacted by two of the Lions’ best offensive players in Stafford and Johnson and, even in his short time with them, is already impressed.

“The one thing people keep saying (about Stafford) is that he has a tremendously strong arm,” said Burleson. “Going out there and catching with him, that’s the first thing I noticed is that he can really gun that thing. He is also tough and he enjoys the sport.

“Then Calvin – he’s probably everything you hear and more. The nickname ‘Megatron’ is very fitting because he’s extremely big and extremely talented. The last time I played with a guy of that stature, that speed and that strength is probably Randy Moss. I’m excited to be on the field with both of those guys.”

Coming from an offense that included a strong quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck, Burleson says being comfortable with the player under center is vital.

“When you can watch film and you’re excited about the guy you’re playing with, that’s step one to having that chemistry,” he said.

Though he is just getting to know Stafford on the field, Burleson already sees things that encourage him in regards to his starting quarterback.

There is a trust factor there that Stafford is going to do anything it will take to help Detroit win.

“He’s out there with a smile on his face, he’s joking around – he’s really enjoying the moment,” he said. “It’s not just a guy collecting a check. He actually wants to go out there and give everything he’s got for this organization.”

The regular season is still a ways away, but the optimism amongst players is already prevalent.

Burleson can sense it, even though he’s only been a part of the team for a few weeks.

“They’re putting together the pieces to the puzzle to really make a run at something and I think that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

“Guys are confident and they’re here. One of the biggest indicators of guys being excited about the season is their attendance in the offseason. You’ve got a lot of guys here right now and for guys to be lifting, running and then staying after on the field to work on the little things in March and April – it’s definitely going to pay off.”