- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Nate Burleson would have rather been playing, of course, having never become the result of a ton of pizza-related jokes over the past month of the season.
He would have rather been catching passes than saving pizzas, but hey, DiGiorno offered a decent consolation prize.
Burleson is close to coming back to the field for Detroit -- every week he seems more and more optimistic about a faster return -- and he’ll be able to do so knowing he can eat all of his pizza at home if he craves it.
DiGiorno offered him free pizza for a year along with some cutlery. Maybe if he’s lucky, he could become a spokesman and turn it into an ad campaign, which is something he’s tried to jokingly pitch since the accident that led to the injury in September.
It’ll help, though, that he’ll be able to show some on-field production to go with it.
Burleson’s potential return comes at a good time for Detroit. The Lions have once again lost slot receiver Ryan Broyles for the season as the former Oklahoma standout ruptured his Achilles tendon while trying to avoid fielding a punt Sunday against Dallas.
And while the Lions don’t want to see any player hurt, let alone someone who was a second-round draft pick for them less than two seasons ago, having a veteran like Burleson able to step in almost immediately should actually help the Detroit offense.
Burleson, not Calvin Johnson, was leading Detroit in receptions when he crashed his car saving the pizza box. Burleson was coming off his first 100-yard game in a long time. And he had, at an age when most receivers slow down, showed to be a productive foil to Johnson as a No. 2 receiver.
Now, he is close to returning with a bunch of pizza and as a potential playmaker for Detroit.
1dDana Wakiji / Special to ESPN.com