After breaking his leg in Week 7 of last season, Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson should be good to go for training camp, filling in the top wide receiver role opposite Calvin Johnson.
The 31-year-old Burleson had a career-high 73 catches for 757 yards in his second year with Detroit in 2011. But the injury ended his 2012 campaign early, leaving him with just 27 catches for 240 yards. But as a story on the Lions team website reports, he'll be back for 2013. He's working out at OTAs and should be full strength for training camp.
With Burleson only playing six games last season and Ryan Broyles missing the end of the year with a torn ACL, the Lions receiving corps outside of Johnson was more or less nonexistent. Sure, Megatron was Megatron, with 1,964 yards receiving, the most in the league by 368 yards. But the second- and third-leading receivers on the team were tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler, and the fourth-leading receiver was backup running back Joique Bell. The next highest receiving total by a non-Calvin Johnson wide receiver was Titus Young, who is no longer on the team after a string of arrests.
A healthy Burleson could mean a great deal for Matthew Stafford and the Lions. He's not as explosive as he was in a 1,000-yard season back in 2004 with the Vikings, but he's still a more-than-capable receiver with 10 NFL seasons under his belt. His reemergence would create some much-needed diversity in the team's offense to prevent opposition from fully locking in on Johnson. Broyles is also supposed to be fully healthy, giving the team a worthy third option.