By Ashley Dunkak
Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch watched some of the Monday Night Football game with wide receiver Nate Burleson Monday night, hours before Burleson got into a highway crash that broke both bones in his left forearm.
Pressed for details of what transpired the evening leading up to Burleson’s 2:25 a.m. wreck, Tulloch jokingly compared the media inquiries to a police interrogation.
Tulloch would not say who made the 6 a.m. call that alerted him to the accident. He avoided the question of where the players watched the game. He said he did not remember how late he stayed with Burleson and the others.
He did positively refute one big question, though, when he said he and his teammates were not drinking.
“No,” Tulloch said. “We just went to watch the game and that was it, and then I got the call.”
Burleson was not tested for alcohol or drugs at the scene of the accident because officers saw no evidence of alcohol of drugs and Burleson did not appear to be under the influence.
Still, the accident surprised teammates, particularly Tulloch, having seen Burleson so recently.
“I got a phone about six in the morning, woke me up, and I was just shocked,” Tulloch said. “I was first wanting to find out if he was okay, he came out to support a little appearance I had yesterday at Happy’s Pizza. It’s crazy how life is, man. You see the guy, hanging out, and boom! – he’s in the hospital.”
Tulloch said he left the location where players were watching the game before Burleson left.
“We watched part of the Monday Night Football game for a while, and I kind of took off home, and I don’t know what happened after that,” Tulloch said. “Somebody called me at 6 a.m. It wasn’t him, obviously, but that’s how I found out.”
Asked more than once where the players went to watch the game, Tulloch would not budge.
“We just went somewhere to watch the game,” Tulloch said. “Things happen … We were watching the game and I went on my way, and whatever happened happened.”
Tulloch had not talked to Burleson yet but said he planned to visit him after leaving the practice facility. He seemed confident of his friend’s eventual return.
“You’ve got to realize, Nate has faced adversity his whole career,” Tulloch said. “He tore his ACL early in his career, he came back. He got hurt last year, he came back, Ed Block award winner. He’s just a hard worker. He’s a professional. He might not be the best player, but he’s consistent. Works hard, day in, day out. I know how he is. Right now he’s thinking about getting back in healthy. He’ll be back to help us.”