Burleson believes Lions are Super Bowl contenders

DETROIT — Receiver Nate Burleson said Tuesday the Lions can win the Super Bowl this season. But the nine-year veteran wants to impress on younger players how fleeting that opportunity is in the NFL.

“I try to remind these guys that it’s rare that you’re on a team that actually can win the championship,” Burleson said. “That is our goal.

“Now, I don’t want to start talking about it because it’s a long ways away, but we have the type of talent that obviously we’ve got to do what we need to do between now and then, but we do have a high-quality team, a great amount of athletes and the coaching that can put us in position to win. So for us the playoffs is not satisfactory.”

As controversy continues to swirl around the team’s younger players, on and off the field, veterans like Burleson and Kyle Vanden Bosch want to keep teammates focused on winning.

The Lions are intent on not only returning to the playoffs but also winning once they get there. Burleson said the team was sold on its ability to win in the postseason when it ended 2009 on a four-game winning streak and finished 6-10.

“Once we got six wins, we knew that we were talented enough to make the playoffs,” he said. “We just made a ton of mistakes and now that we did make the playoffs that isn’t where we want to stop. We want the team to improve and not only just be a contender, (but) be a tough playoff team.”

SCHWARTZ’S SUCCOR: Nick Fairley and Titus Young have run into trouble recently, but Burleson said it’s not for lack of effort from coach Jim Schwartz.

“He’s told us everything,” Burleson said. “Everything that the NFL has told us he’s reiterated it time and time again. If people think that coach Schwartz hasn’t reminded us, not only about how big the microscope is but our resources to help us on and off the field, then people are mistaken.

“Not only him, but all the coaches and the coaching staff and the people within this organization. They do a great job of helping us out. We’ve just got to take it upon ourselves and continue to improve; everybody, myself included. We all have to improve on and off the field. Nobody’s perfect. Continue to work and be better than we were yesterday.”

INJURY UPDATE: Safety Amari Spievey attended practice but did not participate, and Erik Coleman took reps opposite Louis Delmas on the first team in seven-on-seven drills.

“He’s going to start working his way back; we have protocol we have to follow there with getting him back,” Schwartz said. “We’ll get him back on the field pretty quickly.”

Delmas left practice early and before reporters could speak with him.

“He had an ankle roll,” Schwartz said of Delmas. “We had a couple different things.”

Linebackers Stephen Tulloch (knee tendonitis) and Doug Hogue (cut arm) did not practice. Vanden Bosch only ran on the side after individual drills.

Rookie receiver Ryan Broyles (knee) only participated in individual drills and did some conditioning work on the field after practice.

LEVY RETURNS: Linebacker DeAndre Levy returned to practice. He and Justin Durant played on the outside, and Ashlee Palmer filled in for Tulloch in the middle.

Cornerback Aaron Berry continued to take reps with the first team, and Jacob Lacey remained the first nickel cornerback.

Rookie offensive lineman Riley Reiff played right tackle, and Johnny Culbreath played left tackle in team drills with the third team. Jason Fox (LT) and Corey Hilliard (RT) worked with the second team.


Posted by Tribune News Services

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