Nate Burleson is happy for the players who may push him out of a job

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In the two weeks since Lions receiver Nate Burleson was lost for the season with a broken leg, a couple of young receivers — Titus Young and Ryan Broyles — have played well in his absence. And that raises an uncomfortable fact for the 31-year-old Burleson: When the Lions have two receivers who are younger, cheaper and healthier than him who are doing his job in his absence, the Lions may decide after the season that they don’t need Burleson at all.

But if Burleson is worried about getting cut next offseason, he’s not showing it. Instead, Burleson is saying he’s happy for Young and Broyles.

“I’m happy for the young guys,” Burleson told the team’s website. “They are in a good position. I told them me being injured is a great time for those guys to solidify themselves as great receivers. Just being realistic, that’s what the game is about. It’s about stepping up when people go down.”

Burleson said that by supporting Young and Broyles, he’s doing for them what a veteran receiver did for him when he was a 23-year-old on the 2004 Vikings.

“Me and Marcus Robinson were battling for the [spot] opposite Randy Moss and I remember him telling me, ‘I’m not going to knock you and I’m not going to pull you down. I’ll always be there,'” Burleson said. “I thought to myself, ‘If he can do that, I’m never going to cheat the game and be a selfish [player]. I’m always going to give the guys the tools they need even if it puts me in a position that makes me uncomfortable.’”

Burleson has two more seasons on the five-year, $25 million contract he signed with the Lions in 2010, but he knows that in the NFL, injured players on the wrong side of 30 often don’t make it to the end of their contracts. Especially when the team has younger players available.

“With them balling out completely, it could leave me the odd man out,” Burleson said. “That’s just a reality of the game. Once I heal up, I’m going to come back at a high level and if my spot is secure on this team then I’m going to continue to do what I do and lead. If not, hopefully, I prepped the young guys to be in a position where they can easily take my place.”

And so Burleson will continue to be a good teammate and help Young and Broyles in any way he can. Even if he’s helping them push him out of a job.

22 responses to “Nate Burleson is happy for the players who may push him out of a job

  1. I like Nate’s attitude because it shows good team spirit and camaraderie. Wish more people were like him. You do your best and see where it takes you. Nate has pushed many people out of a job for years, he knows he can’t do this job forever, and he knows that being a good teammate is important. Deep down he probably believes he can own these guys, but his outward humbleness is a breath of fresh air.

  2. Way to be a man Nate, with that attitude I’m sure you’ll probabaly find a job as a wide reciever coach if that’s something you would want to do, thank you for the good job you did for us.

  3. Notice his comments on Randy Moss, that Moss was similarly there for him. Now, when Young and Broyles are in Burleson’s spot, they can show the next group of young guys how to be a great teammate. That’s the kind of stuff you like to hear being passed on to other players.

  4. Who was this other Randy Moss guy he speaks about? It’s crazy that there were two players with the exact same name … but completely different attitudes.

  5. If you are not a Lions fan, and are only familiar with the negative stories that come out of Detroit, you may not realize the extent of Burleson’s off-the-field contributions to this team. Dude has been A-1 class ever since his arrival, and along with Kyle Vanden Bosch, his repeated, and very vocal dedication to the team, city, and players of Detroit have played a key part in turning around the Lions’ attitude.

    While the magnitude of that influence may not always be obvious to outsiders, without the evidence of consistent wins to back it up, you’ll just have to trust those of us “lucky” enough to be long-time Lions fans when we say Nate B’s attitude has been a critical part of changing the flavor of the Lions’ culture, and this is just another example.

  6. jgedgar70 says:
    Nov 8, 2012 7:04 AM
    Notice his comments on Randy Moss, that Moss was similarly there for him.
    That’s not what he said. It was Marcus Robinson (whose job he was fighting for) that was helping him.
    Nate might be replaced on the field, but not in the locker room. Always the consummate professional and teammate. Has the gift of gab too, so if he doesn’t land with a team as a player or position coach, he could certainly end up on a sports network. He’d be much a better TV personality than most of the other former players being foisted on us.

  7. Good for him, the Lions need someone with some class who can lead. Also good to hear about Moss as well, maybe he wasn’t as bad a teammate as the media makes him out to be.

  8. Whether or not you keep your job on the Lions, Nate, you have been a great contributor to the Lions’ getting back to respectability. It would be cool if the Lions ended up giving you a job in the front office.

  9. I’ve heard this before from Nate. Seems to be genuine. I’m a fan of his celebrations and him as a teammate.

  10. He’d be much a better TV personality than most of the other former players being foisted on us.
    Talent and personality have little to do with who the networks hire. You need a name, and if you haven’t played for the Pats, Jets, Giants, or Cowboys, they won’t know your name.

    Burleson is a class act. I hope he proves me wrong, but if the suits who make these decisions don’t recognize his ability, I hope he stays in the game as a coach.

  11. What’s a old man with a broke leg supposed to say other than wish the young guys well. It’s easy to have this attitude now, I didn’t see him offering his job to the young guys when he was healthy.

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