Nate Burleson, the self-appointed wing man and spokesman for Calvin Johnson and one of the most popular and respected players in the Lions’ locker room the last four seasons, has been released.

The Lions confirmed Thursday that Burleson, 32, was let go. He was in the final year of a five-year, $25 million contract he signed in 2010. By releasing him, the Lions save $5.5 million in salary cap space.

The move came as somewhat of a surprise to Burleson and his agent. The Lions also released safety Louis Delmas on Thursday, at a cap savings of $6 million.

“I would say we were surprised, but not shocked,” said agent Kenneth Sarnoff. “And the reason I say that is because Nate wanted to renegotiate his contract and he made that clear. It was disappointing that they never called to renegotiate.”

Burleson took a $2 million pay cut to play last season and made it clear at season’s end he’d be willing to do it again.

“I'm willing to (take a pay cut) regardless," Burleson said Dec. 31. "I put that out there early. That's pretty much the only option. Take less money or release me. I'm willing to do that.

"I'll definitely renegotiate and try to outwork my contract, just because I love this team. But at the end of the day I don't control any of that, especially with a new guy coming in."

Burleson didn’t respond to phone calls and text messages from The News on Thursday, but Sarnoff said he took the news of his release in his normal, optimistic way.

“He was disappointed because he loved Detroit,” Sarnoff said. “He really took to the fans and he was the leader of the team. But he’s a pro and he will play in 2014.”

Speaking on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM on Thursday, Burleson said he has already been contacted by a couple of teams and expects to be on another team quickly.