Lions WR Nate Burleson made a stop by the NFL Network studios this week, so we spent a few minutes to pick his brain on some important NFL offseason topics.
I just witnessed your free-style rap skills and heard you refer to yourself as the “lead singer” of the Lions. Who are your musical influences?
NB: I love hip-hop. I’m big into Jay-Z, Kanye, Little Wayne. Those are everyone’s favorites, I know. I just like the fact that when they get on track and talk about whatever they’re talking about, they have supreme confidence. That’s pretty much what you need to have on the field. I like the way they approach their music, they feel like no one can touch them.
Which artist — dead or alive — would you choose to headline your next party?
NB: Oh man, for sure Tupac. Without a doubt. I have to have Pac at the party doing it!
OK, I can’t avoid it any further … is that a faux-hawk, a mohawk or a fade-hawk?
NB: It’s probably like a fade-hawk. It’s kind of a mohawk, it’s skin-tight on the sides. But I couldn’t go straight Mr. T though. I had to blend it a little bit in case I wear a suit. I would say it’s more blended.
Who inspired it?
NB: Myself, actually. I was in the process of growing dreads, they were down to my lip. I could whip them back and forth. Then I just thought to myself, “Is this really me? Can I really do this?” So I washed them out and went to the barber shop. I told them to give me a mohawk. But then there was this teenager also getting one. I couldn’t do that. So I went to the local salon and had them dye it for me. I can’t blend in to how everyone else is looking.
So who has the best hair on the Lions? Or the worst?
NB: We don’t have anyone with bad haircuts, which is a good thing. Louis Delmas has some pretty nice dreads. He’s a Florida boy, so they know how to do it. He gets the title.
Twitter or Facebook?
Is Calvin Johnson the best receiver in the NFL?
NB: Hands down. He’s for sure the best. There’s things he does that nobody else can do. He’s obviously huge, his physical attributes outweigh just about everyone in the league. But on top of that, he still has the ability to learn. He’s like a sponge and soaks up anything that can help him as an athlete, as a person. On top of that, he’s not soft. He catches the ball and tries to get upfield to score. He doesn’t slide or go out of bounds. That’s a rare find in the NFL.
What was your first impression of Ndamukong Suh?
NB: My first impression was that this guy is very confident. For him to be so young, I was kind of caught off guard by how confident he was. But then my first time seeing him on the field, pretty much solidified why he was so confident. He’s obviously a monster.
How good can he be?
NB: I don’t like to put outrageous titles on young guys’ heads, but he could be one of the best at that position. All it’s going to take are longevity and health. If he has those two things by his side, he’ll be one of the best.
Speaking of the best, who is your favorite Lion of all-time?
NB: Barry Sanders, by far. Not only one of my favorite Lions, but one of my favorite NFL athletes. It’s all about highlights for me, I’m a receiver! Sanders is like the NFL version of an And1 mix tape.
What cornerback gives you the most problems?
NB: When Al Harris is healthy, he’s one of the toughest guys to compete against. There are cornerbacks who are probably better physically and faster and more talented, but he’s one of the guys who knows how to use his hands. He’s a good corner.
Who gets the lead role in the life story of Nate Burleson?
NB: Ooooh. That’s tough. Don Cheadle you say? I like that pick. He’s athletic too. He can pull it off.
What did you think of Drew Stanton’s version of The Dougie?
NB: I give him an 8 out of 10. It wasn’t really The Dougie exactly. It’s not how it’s taught when they teach you how to do it. I don’t think they taught that version. But the effort and excitement took it up some levels. It went from a 5 to an 8 just off of that.
Who has the best Dougie on the Lions then?
NB: Yeah, Delmas. That guy is like America’s Best Dance Crew all in one person. He can dance. You’re right though, he has no idea who Doug E. Fresh is. I’ve talked to him about some old-school records, but he has no idea.