Reporting Laura Bonnell
FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) Michigan State Police confirmed that Lions player Nate Burleson was in a car crash at 2:25 a.m. Tuesday.
The incident happened on westbound I-696 near Drake in Farmington Hills, police said, when Burleson was “trying to catch an object that was falling off his seat.”
He reached down to pick up the object later described as pizza and hit the median wall, Lt. Michael Shaw said.
Burleson was at fault in the one-car crash, Shaw said; but no ticket was issued. He was wearing a seatbelt in the 2009 GMC Yukon and the air bags deployed, police said.
A press release from MSP said he was transported by EMS to a local hospital for treatment of “non-life threatening injuries.”
The Free Press’ Dave Birkett Tweeted Burleson broken his arm in two places, and will undergo surgery. Birkett also reported that Burleson was driving home after watching Monday Night Football with his teammates.
The Lions confirmed the reports of surgery.
“Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson was involved in a one car accident overnight,” the team stated in a press release. Burleson suffered a broken arm and will undergo surgery today. Police confirm there was no alcohol involved. We will provide appropriate updates when more information on Burleson’s condition becomes available.”
An 11-year NFL veteran, Burleson had one of his best games in recent memory Sunday. He recorded 116 receiving yards, the most on the team. Through the first three games, the 32-year-old Burleson has racked up 239 receiving yards on 19 catches.
Lions running back Reggie Bush, who joined the team this season, tweeted his dismay Tuesday morning.
Wow thoughts and prayers with my fallen teammate Nate Burleson wishing him a speedy recovery! Hate having to learn about this on ESPN
— Reggie Bush (@ReggieBush) September 24, 2013
Former Detroit Lion Ron Rice also is sympathetic — telling WWJ’s Pat Sweeting he once did the exact same thing.
“That’s a true story, it actually happened to me,” said Rice. “I was reaching for pizza and I actually hit a telephone pole a few years back. So, of course we wish Nate the best in his recovery, but also the organization the best as well, in terms of filling the void.”
Burleson missed 10 games last season after suffering a broken leg. Besides complementing superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the passing game, Burleson’s outgoing personality makes him a popular player in the locker room and a favorite with media for his insightful – and often funny – answers to just about every question asked.
With Burleson out for the foreseeable future, Ryan Broyles, who is coming off a second ACL injury, will likely be filling in.