Linebacker Stephen Tulloch and center Dominic Raiola drew a slew of Lions players for their charity softball game Saturday in suburban Detroit. It was a sea of blue and silver on that field. And then there was Nate Burleson. The former Lions receiver, who signed this offseason with the Cleveland Browns, strolled onto the infield at Ford Woods Park wearing an orange shirt, orange shorts and an orange straw hat. "You've got some nerve, man," former teammate Ryan Broyles yelled at Burleson, smiling. Burleson was not a captain in Detroit, but he was among the team's most visible and vocal leaders. He also used to help Tulloch put on this game, which benefits Detroit Public Schools through the Stephen Tulloch Foundation. So in that way, his presence was natural. But Burleson also made it clear who he plays for now, and already has Aug. 9 circled. That's the day of the Browns' preseason opener -- in Detroit against the Lions. "Man, I'm wracking my brain figuring out what celebration I'm going to do -- because I'm going to get a fine," Burleson said, laughing. "I'm going to get a fine, period. I'm going to go to my coach and say, 'Hey, I'm going to get a fine. I'm going to do something crazy.' "It's going to be a little bit of an appreciation celebration to the fans and the city of Detroit. But it's also going to be a poke in the back, saying, 'You should have kept me because I'm still balling.'" Burelson was productive when he was healthy during his four seasons in Detroit. The problem is he wasn't always healthy. He played just six games in 2012 due to a broken leg, then just nine last year after suffering a broken arm in a freak, pizza-related car crash. The Lions released Burleson, one of their most important leaders, after the season. "The organization was great about it. We talked on the phone -- (general manager Martin) Mayhew gave me a call -- and there's no hard feelings," Burleson said. "I think (they released me) mostly because of the injuries. When I was on the field, I was productive. I felt like I was a great complement to Calvin. But just too many injuries, and as an organization I understand it." The Lions upgraded at the position by signing Golden Tate, the top receiver for the Super Bowl champion Seahawks. And Burleson fully endorses the move, difficult as that may be.
Nate Burleson, on his return to Detroit: 'I'm going to get a fine'
Michigan Live | Jun 8