Nate Burleson suffered one of the more embarrassing injuries of the NFL season six weeks ago, breaking his arm in a car accident while trying to save two pizzas from sliding off the passenger seat.
The Lions wideout returned to practice Tuesday, bringing Matt Stafford one step closer to regaining his No. 2 target behind Calvin Johnson. But Burleson said he will not try to return to game action until his coaching staff sees fit — unlike a certain quarterback in Washington.
“I’m not going to sit here and pull an RGIII and talk over what is common sense and that’s listen to my coaches and listen to the doctors,” Burleson told reporters, via the Detroit Free Press.
He’s referring, of course, to Redskins signal caller Robert Griffin III, who publicly sparred with head coach Mike Shanahan during the preseason over the timetable for his return from a torn ACL. Burleson said that as a competitor, he wants to return and help is team, but that he will heed the advice of Detroit’s team doctors.
“I want to play and that’s just me being a competitor,” Burleson said. “That doesn’t mean that my arm is ready to be out there for 60 minutes. I’m going to talk with the coaches, talk with the trainers and talk with the doctors and figure out if this week, next week or the week after is best for me.”
Detroit enters this Sunday’s meeting with the Bears tied atop the NFC North with Chicago and Green Bay, all of whom hold 5-3 records. The Lions’ passing attack has been potent even without Burleson, ranking second in the NFL at 317.9 yards per game, but much of that success has been due to the typically stellar play of Johnson.
The man they call Megatron has hauled in 47 catches for 821 yards (more than 500 more than the next-leading Lions wide receiver) and seven of Stafford’s 16 passing touchdowns this season. Burleson still ranks third in catches among Detroit wideouts despite playing in only three games.
Video screenshot via Detroit Free Press