Notebook: Burleson out for the year with a broken leg; Tillman on Johnson, Spievey concussion

Posted Oct 23, 2012

The Lions didn't only lose a tough divisional game Monday night at Chicago, they also lost one of their emotional team leaders when Nate Burleson broke his leg in the first half of a 13-7 loss.

"That's tough. We lose a great leader – captain on the team," Lions receiver Calvin Johnson said. "I hate it for him that it had to happen to him.

"I talked to him after the game, he's saying he's going to be out for some significant time. That's tough because he's an emotional leader – leads by example on the field. Gets the energy up – helps us get the energy up. So we're going to have to take that over for him."

Burleson suffered the injury in the third quarter after being tackled on a 16-yard reception. Burleson tried to get up and walk after making the catch but immediately dropped to the ground and trainers helped him off the field.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz confirmed the prognosis after the game and said Burleson would be out the remainder of the season. The Lions will now look to second-year receiver Titus Young and rookie Ryan Broyles to step up and be bigger contributors in Burleson's absence.

Some Lions fans weren't happy with the Broyles pick in April's draft, but they're probably glad the Lions have him now.

Burleson has two more years remaining on his contract after this season.

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman showed why he earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season after the job he did on Lions receiver Calvin Johnson one-on-one Monday night.

Johnson wound up with just three catches for 34 yards, but two of those came in the final two drives of the game when the Bears were trying to keep plays in front of them in prevent.

"I think a lot of credit has to go to Tillman," Schwartz said. "I thought he matched Calvin pretty much the whole game and they did a good job. And they combined that coverage with pass rush, threw our timing off. Matthew Stafford had to move a couple times. There were plays to be made out there."

Johnson talked all week about how this was going to be a good matchup.

"He's good. Play him twice a year," Johnson said. "They see a lot of our stuff that we do, whether it be concepts or anything like that. You've got to try to mix it up on guys like this.

"They're veterans and it's a tough defense. They're widest of widest, deepest of deepest and they're going to make you earn every one."

Johnson had an opportunity to make a big play on third down on the Lions' first possession of the game, but dropped a ball in the middle of the field.

The Lions know all too well about concussion protocol and seriousness of head injuries in the NFL. They're still waiting to get running back Jahvid Best back on the field more than a year since he suffered a concussion.

Safety Amari Spievey was diagnosed with a concussion in the second half of Monday's loss and did not return.

It's the second concussion for Spievey in less than a year. He also suffered another one in the playoff game against the Saints last season.

"Each (concussion) is taken case by case and they evaluate it on the sidelines, took him in – out of our hands at that point," Schwartz said.

Spievey had recently returned to the starting lineup alongside Louis Delmas because of his performance on the field.