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March 19, 2011

Lions WR, Nate Burleson Interview

by Max Strauss

Nate Burleson played college football at Nevada. He entered the 2003 NFL Draft and was drafted in the third round by the Minnesota Vikings from 2003-2005. He also played for the Seahawks from 2006-2009 for his career. He is currently a member of the Detroit Lions. In 2010, he totaled 55 receptions, 625 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Check out our interview that was conducted before the 2011 NFL season started.

Download the AUDIO with Nate Burleson, click here!

Announcement : Hello, my name is Max Strauss with http://prointerviews.org/, http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/ and http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. I’d like to welcome you to the interview with Nate Burleson. Nate was a wide receiver while attending the University of Nevada.  He then entered the NFL Draft in 2003 and was drafted in the 3rd round, 71st overall by the Minnesota Vikings. He played for the Vikings throughout the first three years of his career. He then signed with the Seattle Seahawks for four years. Most recently, he signed with the Detroit Lions and played with them throughout the entire 2010 season. Anyways, here is the interview with Nate Burleson and I hope you enjoy the collages also.

Strauss : Why do you use twitter?

Burleson : Well, originally, I used it for a way to express myself outside of the normal media outlets, and the local radio stations, the popular radio sites, and all that. Twitter seems to be the way to speak my mind without having to be too politically correct. That was my initial reason for using twitter. Then as time moved on, and I learned how powerful of a machine it is, it became more of a marketing tool and a way to not only reach out to my fans on a personal level, but utilize it as a vehicle to push, really, whatever product I want to.

Strauss : Who was your childhood star?

Burleson : My childhood star was probably my father. He played with the CFL for eight years. He did some time in the NFL and in the USFL. He finished off his career in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders. As I got older, I realized how hard it was to make it to any type of professional sports level. Then, on top of that, he was a working father. And, then on top of that, he was a confident presence in the home. And, then on top of that, he supported every dream that I had. He wasn’t just a guy that had the name, “Father” or the title over his head, he was a man who actually stood for every definition of the word. That was probably the biggest reason why he was my hero. Just for the simple fact that he was there everyday and present everyday. He was bigger than Superman, Spiderman, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson. Nobody could be better than my father in my eyes! Still can’t.

Strauss : Your family… You just mentioned your dad who played in the CFL and the USFL. Your brother is on the Bobcats. Then, you have another brother who played college football, Alvin Jr. Who’s the most athletic in your family and why?

Burleson : Probably my youngest brother, the one that you didn’t mention… His name is Lyndale who is finishing his career off at the University of Nevada. He just spent last basketball season overseas in Heidelberg, Germany. The reason he is the most athletic is probably because he cultivated his talent and focused on three different sports, and he dominated those three at a high school level. He probably could have been the fastest, probably has the most hops, probably the strongest. He’s very athletic and like I said, he’s still playing professional ball, and he’s 25 or 26 years old. He’s definitely, in my opinion, the most athletically gifted Burleson.

Strauss : What was it like to grow up in a competitive sports house?

Burleson : It was extremely, extremely competitive. Competition was pretty much drawn everyday. Not only was it in sports, it was in academics. Whoever brought home the best grades usually got the biggest pat on the back. Whoever brought home the biggest trophy had a bigger smile on their face. We competed everyday, all the time, no matter what it was! Even now, we’re grown men, we range 26 to 34 in age, and we still compete. Just this weekend, it was football sunday, we had a weight lifting competition, to see who could put up 225 the most. Anytime we get together, no matter what it is, it doesn’t have to be a special event, if we’re all in the room at the same time, I guarantee you we’ll compete at something.

Strauss : Does your dad join in too or no?

Burleson : Oh yes! He does! Like I said this past weekend, we had a bench-press competition to see who could put up 225 (pounds) the most. My dad took the title. He did it thirteen times with no warmup. He’s the strongest Burleson, we’re all trying to play catch-up and pass him for some quite some time now. No one’s done it.

Strauss : What was your high school football experience like?

Burleson : It was fun. I really enjoyed myself playing at Catholic school that was very, very strict. I remember there was a whole lot of discipline that was preached on and off the field. I only had 16 catches my senior year, so I wasn’t a huge threat offensively, but I played at a high level on offense and defense and that allowed me to give me a chance to college recruiters. It was exciting. The only thing I regret about high school is not winning a championship. I played three sports for four years and never won a championship. If I could go back… If I had the Delorean or the Hot Tub Time Machine, I would go back and do whatever I could to win that championship.

Strauss : What was your experience at University of Nevada, like the transition from high school to college?

Burleson : It was a great learning experience because I transferred into my high school, into private from public. At the time I actually got to college, certain credits didn’t match up because I wasn’t nullified in high school, so once I got to college I had to sit out my first year which gave me the ability to sit back and learn for the first time of my life. I got to look at it from a different perspective. A lot of things in life are handed to you and you work through them at the moment, but when you’re separated from the thing you love the most, it creates a passion inside you that really can’t be duplicated by anything. Sitting out my first year allowed me to approach the game from a different mindset. When I got back on the field, my freshman, sophomore, and junior year, it was basically going out and giving it all you got.

Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Nevada?

Burleson : Man, there are quite a few… I remember I caught this one ball over an Oklahoma State guy, it was a go-route. It was in the endzone, he jumped and I jumped… once I got in the air, I realized that I had more hops then him. I continued to climb while he was descending, and I snatched it out of hands, and that catch was officially great in my mind because that individual, plus a few others on the defense were talking to me the whole game. They were just so loud and obnoxious about how they were going to stop me and ruin my season. I just went off them. It was a big time moment, that catch basically stamped the fact that I was unstoppable and what I felt that game.

I remember playing BYU and I ran a seam-route and took it 94 yards. That was the first time I ever saw myself on ESPN. The first time I ever heard an ESPN commentator say my name. That was the biggest upset I ever had of my career in Nevada. Out of those two, I’d have to go with BYU, because of the fact that it was such a small market, small school in Nevada, I never thought that I would be sitting back and watching myself on the top plays of the day. There it was. It’d have to be my top memory in Nevada.

Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?

Burleson : It was fun. People told me that I was going to go anywhere between second round and fourth round. It was pretty consistent with what I heard because I ended up actually going in the third. I was just so happy to have that. My mom woke up bright and early, got some breakfast and I had a splash of lunch. Everyone came back, and hung out in the crib and just waited to see if my name was going to be called. Luckily, I got called on that first day, early in the third round… I just remember falling asleep. To be honest with you, I don’t want to share to much with you, but, I remember that there were some guys that played my position that went before me, and in my heart, I thought I was better than them.

At that point, I fell asleep somewhere in the second round, I just nodded away… I just said, “Forget it man. I’ll be here when they call my name. I’m past excitement, just because all these other guys have gone before me.” I remember the Minnesota Vikings calling me and Mike Tice said, “Are you ready to be a Minnesota Vikings?” I was like, “Yeah.” It was really non-enthusiastic because I had just kind of woken myself up from a little quiet nap while watching the draft. Mike Tice said, “You don’t sound too excited?”, I said… “I just woke up, I’m sorry, but I am excited, and I can’t wait to get this thing going.” That was it. That was my draft day experience, nothing elaborate, nothing big time. It was just me and my people in the house.

Strauss : What is your favorite memory with the Lions from this past season?

Burleson : Aw man… I think my favorite memory had to be the last game against the Minnesota Vikings. The first game I missed with an ankle injury so I didn’t get to play against my former team, and then, the last game, Calvin Johnson had an ankle injury. Everyone wrote us off and was like, “If they don’t have Calvin, they’re not going to win. They don’t have a playmaker.” We’re always an underdog, especially when people put it out there, and media, it frustrates me highly. Given the fact that, I was looked at as a guy that can work and carry the load, it kind of fueled me a little bit, and I had a pretty good game. I had over 100 total yards, a touchdown, and I did the Jared Allen celebration in the end zone. I got his permission before I did I did it which is pretty funny. I talked to him, and said, “When I score, I am going to your dance.” And he said, “Okay.” We got the win. I think out of the whole season, that last game solidified it. That was the fourth game of our four-game win streak. I finally started to see the identity of our team to come out and play. It was a very, very good game to be involved in.

Strauss : For someone who wants to play in the NFL, what’s the best advice you can give them?

Burleson : Never give up on your dreams! I know it sounds simple and it sounds cliché, but, I could probably name twenty, twenty-five guys that were truly better than me at every single level of sports. There were times where I was the last option, and there were times I didn’t play. There were plenty of times that I wasn’t the most athletic, the fastest, couldn’t jump the highest, but I kind of outlasted. Those people didn’t have the ultimate drive to finish the race. That’s the only thing I could tell anybody who has a dream. You’re not always going to get the praise you deserve, but keep working and keep pushing. Eventually, that door is going to open and that opportunity is going to come, so be ready! Keep going! Keep fighting! No matter what anybody says, out there, there are plenty of teams  that told me, just give up the sport, you’re not built for it, you’re not fast enough, you’re not big enough, you’re not tall enough. Regardless of what people say, keep going, keep getting after it, because you’re the right around the corner from your role. You won’t know it until you give up. So, don’t give it up!

Strauss : Thank you so much for your time Nate.

Burleson : No problem buddy!

Announcement : Thank you for listening to the interview with Nate Burleson. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you leave your comments below as well! Please check out my website https://prointerviews.org/ for other interviews, “LIKE” the Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/, and follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. Please subscribe to me on YouTube at http://youtube.com/ProInterviews/ Thanks again for listening! Stay tuned for more, and feel free to contact me!

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