Lions May Extend Burleson's Duties

Veteran wide receiver's toughness might be tested with more than offensive responsibilties.

Allen Park -- Wide receiver Nate Burleson was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Detroit Lions this offseason to immediately impact the offense.

More than a week into training camp, head coach Jim Schwartz said he is doing so with his toughness.

"There are not many receivers that have the fearlessness like Nate Burleson has that will go across the middle," he said. "It's one thing to take hits in the game, but he'll go through and fight for balls; fight linebackers and DBs for balls in practice and so he can get a first down and stuff like that. It takes a special mentality."

Burleson led the Seattle Seahawks in 2007 with nine touchdowns, two of those coming off punt returns. The eight-year veteran has taken very few reps at that position in Detroit, but Schwartz said that will change — at some point.

"One of the reasons you don't see him out there catching them is because it's hard to evaluate the other guys when he's hogging up all of the reps," he said. "He's going to return punts at sometime this year."

"Whether it's in the opening game, last game of the season, somewhere in between, first quarter, fourth quarter, overtime, it's going to be sometime and he'll be ready. He's really good at doing it."


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