The pizzas are safe, and the Lions offense may be again too.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Burleson has been cleared for contact and will be in the lineup Sunday, barring any late setbacks.
“I don’t want to give away too much, but things are looking up for Nate Burleson,” Burleson said Thursday, showing his ability to use the third person has recovered as well. “Catching some balls, getting high fives. My friends are talking to me again. Things are finally looking up. That pizza set me back, man.”
Burleson broke his left forearm in a Sept. 24 car wreck, which happened when he tried to keep two pizzas from sliding off the passenger seat of his car.
He missed seven games since, though he’s still near the top of the stat sheet. He led the team with 19 catches for 239 yards at the time of the wreck, and other than Calvin Johnson, the only wide receiver to pass him in those categories was Kris Durham, despite the nearly two-month absence.
But they’re hoping for more than just stats when he returns.
“His leadership and his energy,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “Just being able to have that in that huddle brings confidence to the group. And not that they don’t have that, but he just has the creditability to go in and kind of get those guys going and be kind of like that, I don’t know if he’s the mascot for the receivers, but he certainly gets them going and brings a bunch of positive energy to our team.”
Johnson’s done OK in his absence, leading the league with 1,083 yards and 11 touchdowns. But the Lions have clearly been looking for someone else to help Megatron as they fight for the NFC North title, and Burleson’s return should help that process.