|Burleson is planning to have a conversation with some of his teammates. (US Presswire)|
The Lions haven't had a quiet offseason. Instead current and former players have spent a fair amount of time on the police blotter. Like Nick Fairley, who was arrested for marijuana possession in early April and like running back Mikel Leshoure, who underwent his second offseason arrest for marijuana possession a few days before Fairley.
All of that makes it a rather slim possibility that the team takes Janoris Jenkins -- the North Alabama cornerback who is familiar with being arrested on marijuana charges -- in the first round of this month's draft. Even former Detroit players like Charles Rogers aren't immune from seeing the inside of a jail cell (along with the drug charges, though, Rogers allegedly also threatened bodily harm to his mother).
Apparently, all the hullaballoo has bothered Detroit receiver Nate Burleson, and when the team begins offseason workouts next week, he's planning to have a talk with Fairley and Leshoure.
“I'm just going to say tighten up,” Burleson said recently on NFL Network, via the Detroit Free Press. “We've done too much to get to where we're at. There's been a black cloud hanging over Detroit for so long, so for us to go from 6-10 to 10-6 and feel like we're heading in the right direction and just a few mistakes happen, we've got to tell the young guys to get it together.”
Burleson is a locker room leader, so it's certainly in his place to take Fairley and Leshoure, both of whom will begin their second year in the league, and have a conversation with them. Also, offensive lineman Johnny Culbreath was arrested in January and paid a fine for possession of marijuana, and he can expect some face time with Burleson as well.
But Burleson also wants to have these conversations privately. He thinks it's better that way.
“I'm a little bit different, I don't want to put people on blast in front of the team,” Burleson said. “Sometimes you're going to need to do that. Or a certain guy, certain situations, they need to feel that embarrassment of everybody looking down on them. But some of these guys that we saw on the board, these are good young men and I know that they're passionate about being professional athletes, it's just that they make mistakes.”
And what happens if they keep making mistakes or, even worse, don't listen to Burleson's advice? Burleson's prediction? Pain.
“Obviously, when you talk to a young guy and he doesn't listen, the old-school method is physical confrontation,” Burleson said. “I came (into the NFL in) ‘03 and some of these vets, they put your hands on you before they let you damage what they helped build. But I don't think we're going to get to that. And also coaches might say we're just going to sit the guy down, we're going to take the guy away from him and then see how he responds.”
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