Nate Burleson happy to be back in the building; plans to mentor young receivers while out

Posted Sep 27, 2013

Nate Burleson happy his Tuesday morning crash wasn't more serious

It felt kind of like a late-night service announcement, but the message from injured Lions receiver Nate Burlesonto the media on Friday was very real.

“Multitasking and driving is no joke,” he said. “I’ve done it a lot. I was talking to my wife and I said, ‘This is the last time I ever do this. If I’m doing something I’m going to be either stopped or I’ll do it before I get moving.’ It becomes habit forming. For me, that bad habit could have cost me my life.”

Burleson was involved in a one-car wreck early Tuesday morning when he was distracted while driving on I-696 and hit the center median. The impact completely totaled his SUV and left Burleson with a broken left forearm in two spots.

“I hopped on the freeway and was multitasking,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m the king of that. Well, I was.

“Plugging in my phone, reaching for something and I had some pizzas sitting in my passenger seat. They started to slide. Hands full of pizza once I looked up. I felt like I was close to a vehicle. I tried to correct the car. Over corrected it and -- boom -- right into the center median.”

While he’s certainly disappointed to be out indefinitely for the coming weeks because of the broken arm, Burleson is happy it wasn’t much worse.

“Good thing is, I walked away with injuries to my arm from a totaled vehicle which is a blessing,” he said. “You look at the car, I’ll take this any day of the week.

“You learn from it and become a better driver. Even (former Lion) Stefan Logan texted me and said ‘I’m pretty sure it was your fault because you drive like a madman.’”

As for when we might see the veteran receiver back on the field, Burleson, who’s been a notoriously fast healer from injuries throughout his career, said it was likely to be sooner rather than later.

“Hearing from them before the surgery and after the surgery and even walking in today, I’m doing a lot of things that I shouldn’t be doing at this point, which means my body is responding and my muscles are firing,” he said.

“I don’t want throw numbers out there, but I’ll be back sooner than a lot of people would expect.”

It’s been speculated that could be early November, but Burleson is hopeful it can be before that.

In the mean time, he said he was going to continue to work out and stay in shape and said he's going to stay on the young receivers, who now have to pick up the slack, night and day.

“I have to stay on top of them,” he said. “I have to put enough pressure on them to where when they get in to the game, they don’t feel the pressure of the 60 minutes. Pat (Edwards), Broyles, (Kris) Durham have been playing well.

“They just have to embrace the role like I have embraced the fact that you’re a complimentary player, you’ll get a few opportunities and make sure those few opportunities are big. Make them big moments. Just because it’s one or two catches doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be a splash play.

“Look at Durham in the last game he played in. I think he only had a couple catches, but one of them was huge. I think that’s the mindset that they have to have. They can’t lean on the fact that Calvin (Johnson) has to make every play. Make sure that they’re ready for every opportunity that comes their way.”

As expected, Burleson has been on the receiving end of jokes from teammates because of the circumstances that led to the accident.

“The guys are giving me a little bit of crap and asking me what kind of pizza it was,” said Burleson, who confirmed it was a deep dish pepperoni.

“I’ll take it. Until I get back on the field I gotta take all the jokes. Just to see them guys smile again and welcome me back is good.”