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Burleson Weighs In On Turning Lions’ Rookies Into ‘Young Veterans’

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 4:  Nate Burleson #13 of the Detroit Lions stiff arms Jabari Greer #33 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Lions 31-17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS, LA – DECEMBER 4: Nate Burleson #13 of the Detroit Lions stiff arms Jabari Greer #33 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Lions 31-17. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

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DETROIT (97.1 The Ticket) So, do the Detroit Lions really have a cohesive, confident team? WR Nate Burleson thinks so. In fact, they’re so friendly, they vacationed together in the off-season.

“Calvin (Johnson) took all the receivers to Hawaii, so that was a great start to the off-season,” Burleson said in an interview with Tony Ortiz on 97.1 The Ticket, adding that he can’t wait to get the season started. “To be honest, I started working out like five weeks ago, so when you work out, you’re looking forward to getting back and showing everybody that you’re in shape and you’re ready to help out and lead. For me, it was great to get back to work.”

How does the team with so much hope riding on it this year get along?

“We’re young, but we’ve been together a couple of years so now we have that camaraderie, that chemistry,” Burleson said, adding it’s a far cry from the start of last season.

“It’s completely different, last year we showed up in shape, but it was the summer of the unknown and this year we have that organization and we’re good, we’re good to go,” he said “…It’s building on the strengths we know we possess and then minimizing the weaknesses. Everybody showing up and having our power in place is just a good start. A lot of teams don’t have that, that stability and we’re blessed enough to have those guys right now in the locker room.”

After a controversial period where Nick Fairley and Mikel Leshoure  were arrested on drug charges, Burleson said the team isn’t just letting anything slide.

“Coach addressed the team and he addressed us well and just pointed out that we’re heading in the right direction so everybody needs to get on board. I talked to a couple guys in passing in the locker room and just tried to encourage them … They’re not just guys anymore, now you’re veterans. You had that year of learning, that year of making a couple mistakes, now you can take that step into becoming young veterans.”

“Coach is supposed to address those things,” Burleson added. “One thing I like about Jim is he doesn’t let things slide, when issues arrive, he addresses them right away and guys on the team, especially veterans on the team, respect that.”

Now that they’re all together and working hard to get ready for the start of the season, who does Burleson hope to play first?

“I would like to see Green Bay,” he said. “I would like to get an idea of where we’re at and where they’re at, they are the king of the hill, the big brother in this division…We want to see where we stand.”

A big part of the plans for this year involve QB Calvin Johnson, so Burleson weighed in on the controversy over the Madden Curse and whether Johnson should risk it to appear on the cover.

“I’m going to vote for him, of course, I’d like to see my guy on the cover of Madden, I’m a big Madden fan,” Burleson said. “I do believe in the curse, but there are certain curses that can be erased with a dollar sign, you know what I’m saying? I’m just keeping it real.”

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