Originally written on NFL Injury Report  |  Last updated 11/19/14
You may not immediately think of the name Nate Burleson when you think of the Detroit Lions. However, for the past three years he has been an underrated commodity and a great leader for the team. He has flown under the radar for the majority of his ten year career, but has managed to rack up over 5000 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns. He turns 32 in August, but the seasoned veteran still has plenty left in the tank. Drafted out of the University of Nevada in the 2003 NFL draft, Burleson instantly showed promise for the Minnesota Vikings. The third round pick was a constant presence on the field, playing both receiver and on special teams. In 2004, Burleson really made his mark, netting 1006 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Burleson signed with Seattle in 2006, where he played four impressive seasons for the Seahawks. He didn’t see much time at receiver, but made the most of his opportunities as a punt and kick returner, and became one of the biggest return threats in the NFL. He left Seattle in 2010 for more opportunities at receiver, signing a five year deal with Detroit worth around 25 million dollars. He made an impact right away for the Lions as the receiver opposite all-pro, Calvin Johnson. In 2011, Burleson had a career high, 73 receptions, and looked for 2012 to eclipse even more career statistics. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken leg against the Vikings in week 6, and was forced to miss the remainder of what became a dismal season for the team. In addition to recovering from his injury, Burleson was faced with a big decision in the 2012 offseason, and chose to take significantly less money to continue his tenure with the Lions. There are not many individuals in the NFL like Nathaniel E. Burleson as he could’ve made more money playing elsewhere. However, since day one, he has remained adamant about finishing his career in Detroit. Not only is he a mentor and leader for the Lions, but he is also true team player. With the money freed up by the restructuring of his contract, Detroit was able to bring in such talents as Reggie Bush, Jason Jones, and Glover Quinn Jr. He has given the Lions hope for next season, and for seasons to come. His recovery is ahead of schedule, according to Nate via NFL Network, and I for one, cannot wait to see him back on the field. His presence is needed in order for the success of this young Lions football team. His continued consistency and hard work should allow him to regain the starting receiver job, and rightfully so. It looks to be an exciting year for the Lions in 2013, as Matthew Stafford’s skills continue to develop. Look for Burleson to make a huge impact, and put up the biggest numbers of his career.   Follow @TheNFLInjuryRpt Looking for fantasy football advice?
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