DEARBORN — Nate Burleson will always carry a little bit of Detroit in his heart, but after four seasons with the Detroit Lions he’s now a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns.
And, the Browns will be at Ford Field in August for the opening preseason game.
Burleson, who attended the Lions charity softball game on Saturday, just laughed when asked if he’d thought about that game.
“Are you kidding me? I’m wracking my brains to figure out what celebration I’m going to do because I’m going to get a fine. I’m going to get a fine. Period,’’ Burleson said. “I’m going to go to my coach to say, ‘hey, I’m going to get a fine, it’s going to be something crazy.’ it’s going to be a little bit of an appreciation celebration to the fans and the city of Detroit. It’s also going to be a poke in the back saying you should have kept me because I’m still balling.
“You know me, I’m a prideful individual so I’m going to do something that’s representing Cleveland, representing Ohio and it’s going to be fun and flashy,’’ Burleson added. “And I plan to get off that game, it might be the best game of the year .. I’ll probably go 200 yards.’’
Burleson’s playing time for the Lions was limited in 2013 after he broke his forearm in an incident involving hot pizza on his passenger car seat. In 2012 he was limited when he broke his leg in a Monday night loss at Chicago.
He said he kind of knew last year was going to be it in Detroit.
“I think mostly because of the injuries,’’ Burleson said. “When I was on the field I wsa productive, I felt like I was a great complement to Calvin (Johnson). As an organization I understand it, it would have been great to have me back for one more year but it’s such a great question mark, ‘Can he stay healthy?’
“Unfortunately, it’s part of the game. I was OK with it, I was ready to walk away from the game after 11 years and start the next chapter ...’’ Burleson said.
He looked into broadcasting work, but then a few teams called.
“I’ve always told myself if I can still get open I’m still going to play,’’ Burleson said. “I’m going to be 33 in August I had some concerns thinking can I go out and compete at a high level with some of these guys who are a decade younger than me?
First couple days of OTAs, we get to one-on-ones, I get busy, thinking to myself, ‘I still got this.’ This is what I do, I catch the ball move the chains,’’ Burleson added.
He met Golden Tate on Friday night and had nothing but praise for the Lions’ new No. 2 wide receiver.
“He’s a good dude. It’s always tough when you get let go by a team and immediately they find a replacement - at any job,’’ Burleson said. “I thought to myself they couldn’t find a better guy to fill in that spot. He’s young, he’s fiery, he’s passionate. That’s the most you can get out of a receiver.’’
Burleson — attired in Browns’ orange shorts, shirt and even hat — received a warm reception for Lions’ fans at the charity game that benefited Detroit Public Schools.
Burleson was in town for the weekend.
“People they were giving me some type of reception as if I got out of jail or something,’’ Burleson said. “My teammates, from the airport, every place I went, they’re like ‘I’s good to see you, we’re sad you’re gone.
“After four years it was tough to leave Detroit,’’ Burleson said. “I truly love this place, it became my second home.’’