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 »