Originally written on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/20/14
Detroit-lions-chicago
ALLEN PARK, Mich. Nate Burleson's broken leg was supposed to open the door for recent draft picks Titus Young and Ryan Broyles to establish themselves as the Detroit Lions top receivers behind Calvin Johnson. Burleson even conceded at the time that it could leave him as the odd-man out because hes due to make 10 million over the next two seasons. Two months later, things have changed. The Lions have a much greater reason to bring Burleson back in 2013, regardless of his salary. For much different reasons, neither Young nor Broyles emerged the way that was hoped during the last half of this season, leaving the Lions scrambling to find some playmakers to complement Johnson. With two games left, they're still looking for someone to fill Burleson's spot. Young, a second-round pick in 2011 out of Boise State, turned into a major headache. He was dismissed from the team for a couple weeks when his selfish behavior and insubordination became a distraction to his coaches and teammates. Young finally was put on injured to end his season and keep him away from the club. Broyles was showing promise before having to undergo major surgery earlier this month to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. It was just over a year after Broyles, a second-round pick in 2012 out of Oklahoma, had surgery for a similar injury to his left knee. While Burleson is expected to be ready to participate in the Lions offseason workout program, there are bigger questions about the status of Young and Broyles. Many believe Young has played his final game as a Lion while Broyles rehabilitation likely will carry on through training camp next summer and into the season. Welcome back, Nate? I like to think so, Burleson said. Hopefully, Ill be back. Burleson indicated that he is more than willing to rework his contract to help the Lions salary-cap numbers for the next couple seasons. Still got to figure some things out, maybe go talk to management upstairs and try to figure out a way to keep me around, insure that I retire here, he said. If that takes us adjusting, the organization and myself, Im with it. I dont want to end my career anywhere else. This is my home right now. I think theyll do what they can and Im going to do my part. Burleson, 31, has played 10 years in the NFL, the first three with Minnesota, four with Seattle and the last three in Detroit. He made 27 receptions for 240 yards and two touchdowns in six games this season before getting injured Oct. 22 in a Monday night loss at Chicago. Not only does Burleson give the Lions a veteran presence on the field, but his gregarious personality makes him a popular teammate and locker-room leader. I think Im a little different than the typical pro ballplayer, Burleson said. Im here to win a championship. I understand sacrifices have to be made. If it takes sacrifice on my part, Ill do that. Im here to give this organization a good athlete and a good leader and hopefully bring a championship back to Michigan. Ill do whatever it takes. With the loss of Burleson, Young and Broyles, the Lions receiving corps has been completely depleted behind Johnson, who is in position to break the NFL record for receiving yards in a season. The Lions are now counting on newcomers such as Kris Durham, a practice-squad player for much of the season after being cut by Seattle; Mike Thomas, acquired in a trade with Jacksonville on Oct. 31; and Brian Robiskie, signed as a free agent on Oct. 24 after getting released by Jacksonville. The trio combined for two catches for 23 yards in Sundays 38-10 loss at Arizona. We were very fortunate last year that we didnt lose a snap to our wide receivers all season to injury, coach Jim Schwartz said. This year, it wasnt the same way. Even Calvin, whos sort of the last-man standing of that group, has battled through his own injuries. Its amazing the production hes been able to have when hes been such a marked man. We need guys to step up and make plays on offense. Not everybody has to be Calvin, but we need to get contributions from a lot of different guys. We didnt get enough (against Arizona). We need to get first downs. We need to make big plays. If we do that, well complement Calvin well. To do that, theyre going to have to win some one-on-one (matchups). The final two games, including Saturday night against Atlanta at Ford Field, are an opportunity for these guys to make an impression and possibly set themselves up for the near future. But based on whats happened so far, there is no one who should take a job away from Burleson going into next season.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Red Sox may be ready to move Yoenis Cespedes

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released

Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him

LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Redskins to stick with Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Pitino: Louisville will beat FSU in football

Report: Rams considered favorites to move to LA

Kobe to Julius Randle: You’re an idiot if you (expletive) this up

Slava Voynov arrested on D.V. charge, suspended indefinitely

Report: Ray Rice could be reinstated within next month

Earl Thomas: Refs need to stay out of it and let us dominate

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

WATCH: Tennessee coach tried to trip Ole Miss player?

News station congratulates Gary Payton for breaking TD record

Did Sidney Crosby troll Flyers fans with Halloween costume?

Why Dan Mullen is not leaving Mississippi State

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview: Will Giants or Royals win it all?

NFL tweets graphic of recipients of Manning's 509 TD passes

Hockey fights of the week

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

Lions News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview

Favre: I got calls about playing last season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.