Wide receiver Nate Burleson's time with the Detroit Lions has come to an end. Dave Birkett reports that the Lions have decided to release Burleson, who was informed of this decision earlier on Thursday.
Burleson: "It’s a hard decision for them to make, but I can’t blame them for making it." Said he still intends to play in 2014.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) February 13, 2014
Burleson was set to make $5.5 million in 2014, so this move will save the Lions a pretty significant amount of cap space. It is a bit surprising that they didn't simply give Burleson a pay cut like last year, though. Burleson previously indicated that he would be willing to take less money to finish his career in Detroit, but the Lions have instead decided to simply move on.
Burleson ended up spending four seasons with the Lions. He joined the team in 2010, and he caught 6 touchdowns that year. He caught 73 passes for 757 yards in 2011, but injuries plagued his last two seasons in Detroit. Now he is headed for free agency in hopes of landing a job elsewhere. If he can't find a team to sign him, he will almost certainly land a job as a broadcaster.
UPDATE: It seems that the Lions weren't interested in bringing Burleson back for another season, regardless of the cost.
There was no talk of a new contract or pay-cut. #Lions just released him and are moving on. Nate will have a new home in 2014.— Matt Dery (@dery1051) February 13, 2014
UPDATE II: Here's Burleson's goodbye message to Detroit:
The last 4 years in Michigan been incredible! MY TEAM, FANS & the CITY will missed more than you know! Thank You! Love Detroit! #LionBlood— Nathaniel E Burleson (@Nate13Burleson) February 13, 2014
UPDATE III: The Lions have also released Louis Delmas.