Posted September 24, 2013

Nate Burleson suffers broken arm in car accident, will require surgery

Detroit Lions, NFC North
Nate Burleson has hauled in 19 passes for 239 yards in 2013.

Nate Burleson has hauled in 19 passes for 239 yards in 2013. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Nate Burleson missed 10 games last season with a broken leg. He will have to sit for at least a few weeks in 2013, too, after breaking his arm in a single-car accident.

The Lions announced the unfortunate news Tuesday morning. Head coach Jim Schwartz later confirmed that Burleson fractured both bones in his left forearm and would require surgery. There was no alcohol involved in the crash, according to the team’s release; the Detroit News reported that Burleson hit a median wall at around 2:25 a.m. ET after being distracted by “pizza falling off his front seat.” Can’t make this stuff up.

The Lions did not offer any timetable for Burleson’s possible return, though it’s safe to guess that the veteran receiver will miss a month or more.

Burleson is coming off of one of his best games in his four seasons with the Lions. He caught six passes for a team-high 116 yards Sunday, as Detroit scored its first franchise win in Washington.

“When they’re trying to pay that much attention to Calvin, he just does a great job,” QB Matthew Stafford told MLive after the victory. “He had some great catch and runs today.”

Without Burleson in the lineup, the Lions will have to lean on second-year receiver Ryan Broyles. He was kept on a strict snap count against the Redskins, in his first game back from a knee injury. (Broyles injured his other knee during his senior season at Oklahoma.) Broyles did make three catches for 34 yards in Week 3, and he had 22 grabs as a rookie prior to going down.

Though Broyles can man the slot, the Lions will need someone to step up outside — Detroit used Burleson inside on three- and four-receiver sets and often slid him outside in two-receiver looks. Kris Durham, who saw 34 snaps versus the Redskins, would appear to be first up for that job. The Lions also have Patrick Edwards (fighting his own injury issues) as an option.

What they don’t have is an injured reserve/return designation spot available. Special teams ace Montell Owens took that place after hurting his knee late in the preseason, so Burleson either has to stay on the active roster or be placed on injured reserve — the latter would end his season.

With Burleson and later Broyles out last season, the Lions showed a lot of two tight end looks. They have the personnel to pull that off again, with rookie Joseph Fauria developing as a red-zone complement to Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler.

Burleson, 32, has one year left on his current contract. He already works as an NFL Network analyst in the offseason, so his post-career course seems set. And this recent rash of injuries might convince him to head off into the sunset a little sooner than he initially planned.

34 comments
BabylonDon
BabylonDon

A nice thick Chicago deep-dish would never have slid off the seat.

feboptimus703
feboptimus703

It's time to stock up on Digiorno or Tombstone.

joe6647
joe6647

Driving around Detroit at 2:30 am is enough of an excuse to be driving in a panicked state

GlennAllen
GlennAllen

Yeah, the ol' pizza falling off the front seat at 2:25am.  Yep.   Next it'll be a carne asada burrito.

MichaelRaffin
MichaelRaffin

He should just admit he was texting, take the fall, and be an advocate for texting and driving issues...I'd definitely be more impressed.

Jimmiib
Jimmiib

I hear they nailed him being 3 x over the limit with the roadside appetizer....Judge will serve him 2 nights  at Pappa John's for pizza abuse.....

gymviking
gymviking

You know, if I were a Lion's fan, I would almost rather hear that he had been drinking....

GreenHornist
GreenHornist

Not much good ever seems to happen when you are driving around at two in the morning.

j7apple
j7apple

Dominos said not to bother applying for their delivery slot

Cool
Cool

Lucky it wasn't a cell phone distracting him or he could have been ticketed... eating pizza while driving is both legal and time saving.. without any fear of distracting the driver.

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

There is zero chance that there is a pizza place near Farmington Hills open at 02h00 on a Monday evening.

Anaximenes1
Anaximenes1

nate need to take care of his pizza better next time when he coming home from the clubs

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

That dang Mike Piazza, 1st he's trying to fight Roger Clemens now this...

Dana2
Dana2

Darwin personified 

misterdeltoid
misterdeltoid

Another unnecessary anchovy related injury.  When will the NFL ever start to deal with this unhealthy trend.

prvsa
prvsa

There just seems to be too many professional football players with the brains of 4th grader.  You would think that these dummies would be a bad investment, either due to injury or criminal event. But the NFL charges FANS billions of dollars to watch dummies and the FANS keep coming. Maybe the FANS are the real dummies.

jbber
jbber

Nate has always been a stand-up dude to my recollection. Sorry to hear about this.

Judge Smails
Judge Smails

I don't know of very many pizza places still open at 2am...

TottalymadeupHuh
TottalymadeupHuh

Am I the only one who is scratching his head about why all the NFL players are out driving around at 2 in the morning? Like someone once said "nothing good happens after midnight."

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

...funny they left out the pot he was smoking which gave him the munchies !!

sportsGuy12
sportsGuy12

what kind of diet is that for an NFL player?

NebojsaTodorovic
NebojsaTodorovic

@MichaelRaffin Agreed.  Our lazy arse govt needs to address this from an industry standard angle.  Smartphones eclipse alcohol for danger, yet it's too hard for the police dept to actually investigate phone usage - when in fact it isn't.  It takes a warrant to get the cell records, that is all, the incident provides them with cause.

gymviking
gymviking

@thebigdawg3 Apparently, he had devoured the evidence, using his one good arm, making it the perfect crime.

LeslieHoerwinkle
LeslieHoerwinkle

@prvsa : Agreed. It's pretty stupid for a grown man in the NFL to be buying a pizza and transporting it in a motorized vehicle.

therednorth1
therednorth1

@Judge Smails The Pizza place down the street is open until 3am.  Of course, they're across the street from a nightclub, so that might make a difference.