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WR Nate Burleson recipient of the Mike Utley Spirit Award

Posted by ttwentyman on January 12, 2013 – 6:25 pm

Nate Burleson’s season ended Oct. 22 in Chicago when he broke his leg after catching a 16-yard pass in the third quarter.

But that didn’t prevent Burleson from returning to the sidelines only a few weeks after suffering the injury, pumping up the team in the huddle before the game, and showing his support throughout the remainder of the season.

Burleson is the definition of a good teammate and it’s just one of the reasons he was voted the recipient of the Mike Utley Spirit Award by his fellow Lions for the 2012 season.

The Mike Utley Award is presented to the player who exhibited tremendous spirit, desire, dedication and work ethic. This award is given in honor of former Lions guard Mike Utley, who suffered a career-ending neck injury which left him paralyzed on Nov. 17, 1991; Minutes after sustaining the injury, Utley flashed his teammates a “thumbs up” sign as he was wheeled from the field, a gesture that galvanized a team that went on to win its next seven contests and advanced to the NFC Championship game.

Burleson had 27 receptions for 240 yards and two touchdowns before the injury. He’s been an intrical part of the offense over the last three seasons and an even more important presence in the locker room and receivers room.

He said after the season that he’ be willing to restructure his deal next year to give the Lions more freedom under the cap and so he can retire a Lion.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 4 Comments »

Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh named to Associated Press All-Pro teams

Posted by ttwentyman on January 12, 2013 – 1:33 pm

Calvin Johnson continues to rack up the honors. Johnson, who broke Jerry Rice’s NFL single-season mark of 1,848 yards set in 1995 by finishing with 1,964 yards, was named to the Associated Press All-Pro team Saturday.

It’s Megatron’s second-straight All-Pro nod and the second consecutive year he was a near-unanimous selection (49 out of 50 votes). Only Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt were unanimous selections.

Johnson broke an NFL record with eight-straight 100-yard games during the season and finished with 11 total 100-yard performances, tying the NFL record.

It was a little surprising Johnson didn’t join Peterson and Watt as an unanimous selection.

“For people to say negative things about the record that he set is unbelievable,” general manager Martin Mayhew said of talk by some that Johnson’s record should be discredited in some way because of the Lions’ 4-12 record and the misguided thought that his yards were received in “garbage time” as one analyst said.

“When you watch the work he put into it, when you watch how teams defended him, every defensive coordinator got up in his meeting on Wednesday and the first thing he says is, ‘We’ve got to stop this guy,’ and for him to put those numbers up is just a phenomenal feat. We may never see anything like that again. And then to do it while he’s fighting through all these injuries. I can’t say enough about the job Calvin Johnson did.”

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who had eight sacks this season, was voted to the All-Pro second team and was the only other Detroit Lions player recognized by the Associated Press. Suh was named to the first team as a rookie in 2010.

The All-Pro team is decided by a national panel of 50 sports reporters who cover the NFL.

Here is the full list:

AP FIRST TEAM

QB:  Peyton Manning, Broncos.

RB:  Adrian Peterson, Vikings (unanimous), Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks.

FB:  Vonta Leach, Ravens.TE:  Tony Gonzalez, Falcons.

WR:  Calvin Johnson, Lions; Brandon Marshall, Bears.

OT:  Duane Brown, Texans; Ryan Clady, Broncos.

OG:  Jahri Evans, Saints; Mike Iupati, 49ers.

C:  Max Unger, Seahawks.

DE:  J.J. Watt, Texans (unanimous), Cameron Wake, Dolphins.

DT:  Geno Atkins, Bengals; Vince Wilfork, Patriots.

OLB:  Von Miller, Broncos; Aldon Smith, 49ers.

ILB:  Patrick Willis, 49ers; NaVorro Bowman, 49ers.

CB:  Richard Sherman, Seahawks; Charles Tillman, Bears.

S:  Earl Thomas, Seahawks; Dashon Goldson, 49ers.

P:  Andy Lee, 49ers.

K:  Blair Walsh, Vikings.

KR:  Jacoby Jones, Ravens.

SECOND TEAM

QB:  Aaron Rodgers, Packers.

RB:  Alfred Morris, Redskins; Jamaal Charles, Chiefs.

FB:  Jerome Felton, Vikings.

TE:  Jason Witten, Cowboys.

WR:  A.J. Green, Bengals; Andre Johnson, Texans.

OT:  Joe Thomas, Browns; Joe Staley, 49ers.

OG:  Marshal Yanda, Ravens; Logan Mankins, Patriots.

C:  Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers.

DE:  Justin Smith, 49ers; Julius Peppers, Bears.

DT:  Justin Smith, 49ers; Ndamukong Suh, Lions; Haloti Ngata, Ravens.

OLB:  Chad Greenway, Vikings; Ahmad Brooks, 49ers; Clay Matthews, Packers; and DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys.

ILB:  Daryl Washington, Cardinals; London Fletcher, Redskins.

CB:  Champ Bailey, Broncos; Tim Jennings, Bears.

S:  Eric Weddle, Chargers; Jairus Byrd, Bills.

P:  Thomas Morstead, Saints.

K:  Phil Dawson, Browns.

KR:  David Wilson, Giants.


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