Lions cautioned to check emotions

  • Associated Press | May 22, 2012

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Nate Burleson says he didn't see what fellow Detroit Lions receiver Titus Young did to get himself dismissed from team workouts this week.

He just knows what he'd like to see out of the Lions, who lost their cool at times last season and watched their feel-good offseason in which they've lost only one key player marred a bit by off-the-field news.

"We're a tough team and I think at times we have to dial down our emotions whether it's during the season, during workouts, during OTAs," Burleson said Tuesday. "We just got to know how to turn our energy in the right direction and utilize it for our benefit. If we can do that, I think a lot of people will see an even better season than we had last year."

Detroit earned a spot in the playoffs last year for the first time in more than a decade with its first 10-win season since 1995. Still, Ndamukong Suh infamously stomped on the right arm of Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith, drawing a two-game suspension, and coach Jim Schwartz got in the face of San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh after a loss.

Before losing at New Orleans in the playoffs, Detroit wasted chances to beat the Saints during the regular season with a slew of penalties -- including an unnecessary roughness call on Young -- that cost the team more than 100 yards.

Burleson said he was working out with teammates recently when Young and safety Louis Delmas had a confrontation.

"I don't know if it was a punch, a push, a shove," Burleson said. "It's one of those things that happens all the time. To be honest, when I played in Minnesota we fought like every other day. It wasn't that serious."

Schwartz has declined to say why Young was among the players missing from voluntary workouts.

"I know he's working where he's at right now," Burleson said. "Obviously, coach knows about Titus and his situation more than we do."

Burleson said the Lions have a tight-knit team that hangs out a lot off the field. That gives him confidence that the Young-Delmas scrap won't have a lingering effect in the locker room when the second-year pro is able to rejoin his teammates.

"I'm pretty sure when he gets back to work, it'll be business as usual," Burleson said. "We're not concerned. We don't have any cancers on this team or anybody that is dragging us down. We have a strong team and we're headed in the right direction."

The Lions have accomplished almost all their goals this offseason -- including extending Calvin Johnson's contract, re-signing Stephen Tulloch and keeping Cliff Avril -- but they've lamented having to answer non-football questions about four players coming off their rookie season.

The Young-related news followed three players -- Nick Fairley, Mikel Leshoure and Johnny Culbreath -- having marijuana-related run-ins with law enforcement this offseason.

"I'm not going to start questioning the organization and the people they select to come here because of a couple mistakes," Burleson said. "In life, that's going to happen, especially when you're young."

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