Nate Burleson had a successful NFL career, made plenty of money and is now a rising star as an analyst but even he has one regret as it relates to his time in the league.
Recently, in a piece, NFL.com and NFL Network contributors who were former players were asked to identify their biggest career regrets. Burleson’s story was one Detroit Lions fans will never forget. As he explained, he regretted taking a dive to save some pizza while driving on a road in town.
Here’s Burleson’s story:
“My biggest regret? Trying to save that pizza while driving. I’m dead serious. I swerved three or four times during that 2013 accident and remember getting out of the car to check my legs. There was a short sigh of relief when I realized my legs were fine, but that’s when I noticed my arm was broken (an injury that required surgery). I looked down and remember saying out loud, “I just messed up OUR season.” The Lions were 2-1 at the time and I had just recorded a 100-yard receiving game. We were trending in the right direction and then I missed seven games. We finished 7-9 that year (going 1-5 down the stretch after my return) and missed the playoffs. And that ended up being my last NFL season.
Who knows how that season would’ve played out or how many more years I would’ve been in the league if it weren’t for that deep dish pizza. For the record, though, I still eat it all the time. I just have it delivered now.”
Burleson dove in his car to try and save some pizza in 2013, and as he said, he felt his subsequent broken arm prevented the Lions from doing some major damage that season. Burleson himself only put up 461 yards that year and it could have been way more if not for the injury early on.
The accident bothers Burleson more than Lions fans, who still revere him as one of their favorite former players. Nevertheless, Burleson would have done things differently during his final year with the team.
Nate Burleson Career Stats
Burlseon had a decorated 11 year career in which he put up 5,630 yards and 39 touchdowns. He had stops with the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks but finished off his career with the Lions, and as a result, Detroit holds a special place in his heart. He put up 2,083 yards with the Lions and 12 touchdowns in his career as a very productive veteran wideout for the offense.
Nate Burleson Fired up For Lions Running Game
Recently, Burleson was asked about a burning question for an NFC North team on Good Morning Football, and for him, it revolved around the ground game for the Lions. How good can it be in 2020? According to Burleson, the answer is a special one that’s been a long time coming for Detroit fans.
It’s possible the Lions’ rushing attack can be better than the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears next season.
— GMFB (@gmfb) May 12, 2020
“They’ve been a team that has always focused on the pass game. They’ve been a team trying to figure out what their identity is. For the last 4 years since we’ve been doing the show, we’ve waited for the running game to take shape, just a little bit,” Burleson said. “They’ve been struggling with the running game since Barry Sanders retired. I think they’re starting to fix it. Kerryon Johnson showed some moments where he’s done some good things. What they did in the draft, getting D’Andre Swift, that was great for them to fix it. People love D’Andre Swift. It’s almost like him falling to 35 was great, it was the football gods blessing the Lions.”
As a result of Johnson and also Swift as well as the rest of the offense, Burleson believes the time is now for the Detroit rushing attack in 2020.
“I feel like this combination of running backs along with the wide receivers and tight ends they already have, let me make the statement. The Lions could have the best running game on the NFC North for a team who hasn’t had one in quite some time,” he said. “I’m a firm believer in the fact that what they’re building is going to show us that. I feel like the Lions are going to do it this year and be the best running game in the north.”
Detroit’s ground game has been a bottom feeder for years but this would be some development for the team. With the improvements the team made up front this offseason, it might also be reasonable to have the same high expectations.
Burleson feels that way, while also looking back at the past.