Nate Burleson initially declined invite to be special draft correspondant

Posted Apr 23, 2013

With the Detroit Lions in their second week of offseason workouts, Nate Burleson felt he should be in Allen Park

Nate Burleson took a cruise with his family as a last hurrah before the offseason conditioning program began April 15.

When he returned home from that cruise, he also had an email requesting him as a special correspondant for NFL Network throughout draft week.

"My first response was no," Burleson said. "I have to be in Allen Park for workouts. That’s the second week of offseason workouts and I put my workouts as a priority."

It took a couple days of convincing for Burleson to agree that it was a good opportunity.

Ultimately, he proved to the powers that be that he is actually ahead of schedule in terms of rehabbing following a broken leg during that season and followed up with head coach Jim Schwartz.

"He said it was good because it helps to shed a great light on the organization," said Burleson. "He was very encouraging. So I notified all the trainers and everybody that I’d be gone for the week. Still working out up here and I’ll be back as soon as the third week starts."

Burleson, who is appearing on NFL AM on NFL Network this week, says he is approaching this new craft of being an on-camera talent with the same dedication he approaches his on-field role.

He took some time Monday to answer a few fun questions regarding his on-camera experiences.

Q: Are you uncomfortable watching yourself on TV?

A: "I’m uncomfortable, I don’t watch myself. I could pop it in on a computer on a plane, in my room, be in the hotel by myself watching it, but I don’t like watching it with people around. I get really nervous."

Q: Do you also get nervous before going on air?

A: "Yeah, it’s just like football. I get nervous before every game, even though I’ve been in the NFL 10 years. I get nervous before the camera starts rolling when they give me a little heads up, 'Alright, we’re 30 seconds away, coming to you first, Nate.' Your heart gets a little flutter and then you start to, I guess, repeat what you want to say in your head like a mantra and just hope that it comes out like you’re thinking it."

Q: What do you think of archived footage NFL Network pulls such as you on the Vikings' sideline?

A: "Yeah, I love it. They will introduce me or they’ll going into a commercial break and they say, ‘Up next, we have Nate Burleson’ and you never know what footage they will use. They never tell me. So it’s always fun to see myself at different moments because I’ve had so many on-air moments on and off the field that I forget a lot of times. I forget a lot of the silly stuff that I say. So they pull that footage up, it’s always entertaining."

Q: Was it weird to see yourself wearing No. 81?

A: "Yeah, back in the day that was my number. The funny thing about that: I wore 81 in Minnesota, wore 81 in Seattle, but it wasn’t even a question if I was going to get 81 in Detroit. I didn’t even consider it. I was like, 'You know what, let’s just start going through the options right now.'

"Then when I first got there, people would say, 'Good job, 8-1,' and they were obviously talking to Calvin but I would always turn around. I was used to hearing it for the first seven years of my career; '8-1, 8-1, good job, 8-1.' It took me about a year to actually stop turning around."

Q: You get a lot of ribbing by your co-hosts for choosing Calvin Johnson for different "bests". What is your motivation for choosing him so often?

A: "A lot of it is my opinion. It definitely doesn't have much to do with me being friends with Calvin, it has more to do with me being a receiver and understanding the intricacies of the position. If I was playing on a different team, still being a receiver, I would pick Calvin because he is that type of athlete. He has every aspect of what makes a player great, so I pick him because of that and because he has stats to back it up.

"I joke about it and they always give me crap about it but, at the same time, if you listen closely, every time I make my statement about Calvin being good -- being the best -- they always say, 'Well, I can't disagree with you.' So when they're saying that, I know I'm speaking the truth."