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Nate Burleson
No. 13     Detroit Lions
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: August 19, 1981 (1981-08-19) (age 28)
Place of birth: Calgary, Alberta
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
College: Nevada
NFL Draft: 2003 / Round: 3 / Pick: 71
Debuted in 2003 for the Minnesota Vikings
Career history
 As player:
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
  • 1st player to return 3 separate punts for 90+ yards
  • Seahawks franchise record holder for punt return yards in a playoff game (84)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2009
Receptions     263
Receiving yards     3,547
Receiving average     13.5
Receiving TDs     27
Stats at

Nathaniel Burleson (born August 19, 1981 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada) is an American football wide receiver for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played college football at Nevada.

Burleson has also played for the Seattle Seahawks. He is the younger brother of former NBA player Kevin Burleson.


Early years

Burleson attended Lindbergh High School in Renton as a freshman, and then transferred to O'Dea High School in Seattle. While at O'Dea, he won a total of eight letters playing football, basketball and track[citation needed] . As a senior, he was named The Seattle Times City Athlete of the Year.[1]

College career

Burleson played college football at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he tallied 248 receptions for 3,293 yards (13.28 yards per rec. avg.) and 22 touchdowns in his career.[citation needed] In a 2001 game against San Jose State, he had 326 receiving yards, an impressive yardage total made even more unlikely because he did so without scoring a touchdown (setting an NCAA record for most receiving yards gained in a game without a touchdown).[citation needed] In 2002, he led the nation with 138 catches - second all-time only to Houston's Manny Hazzard in NCAA history for receptions in a single season.[citation needed]

Burleson led the nation in receptions per game and receiving yards as a senior.[citation needed] He was named first-team All-America by AFCA, All-WAC and team MVP. He was named second-team All-America by The Sporting News and CNN/SI. He holds the WAC and Nevada all-time records for single game receptions (19)[2].

Professional career


Minnesota Vikings

Burleson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2003. He showed promise during his rookie season, but didn't put up great numbers.[citation needed] In his second season, 2004, Burleson emerged as a threat when fellow receiver Randy Moss injured his hamstring. Burleson was now the go-to-guy for Minnesota. He put up strong numbers and reached 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. Not only a great receiver, but a standout special teams player as well, Burleson is the only player in NFL history to have three punt returns of 90 or more yards.[citation needed]

Seattle Seahawks

On March 24, 2006, Burleson signed a seven-year $49 million offer sheet to play with his hometown Seattle Seahawks. In retribution for the Vikings signing an offer sheet with former Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson, the Seahawks put clauses in Burleson's offer sheet which made it virtually impossible for Minnesota to match (similar to what the Vikings did with Hutchinson). The offer sheet stated that the entire $49 million would be guaranteed if Burleson played five games, in one season, in the state of Minnesota, or if his average per year exceeded the average of all running backs on the team combined. The Vikings play eight home games a year in Minneapolis, and at the time of the offer sheet, the team spent far less than $7 million per year for its entire running back corps. On the other hand, Seattle was spending over $7 million a year on just one of its running backs (Shaun Alexander). The Vikings had seven days to match the offer sheet but declined to do so. Minnesota received Seattle's third-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft; Seattle, however, received no compensation for the departure of Hutchinson.[citation needed] On September 7, 2008, Burleson tore a ligament in his knee in Seattle's season opener against the Bills. He was put on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Detroit Lions

During the early hours of the NFL free agency period on March 5, 2010, Burleson agreed to a five-year $25 million contract with the Detroit Lions.[3] Burleson will be reuniting with his former offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, whom he had his best season of his career with in 2004 when he caught 68 passes for 1,006 yards and nine touchdowns while playing for the Vikings.[4]



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