Lions will miss Nate Burleson's presence

CHICAGO -- Nate Burleson's season-ending leg injury removes one of the Detroit Lions' top leaders from a locker room that will struggle to overcome a 2-4 start to its season. From my perspective, that's the primary impact of an injury to a player whose production had declined to the point where he was not among the Lions' starters Monday night in a 13-7 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Second-year player Titus Young started in place of Burleson, who entered the game averaging 8.6 yards per catch this season. Burleson dropped a second-quarter pass that would have gone for a first down and broke his right leg on his only reception of the game, a 16-yard play in the third quarter.

Rookie Ryan Broyles will now get a chance to develop in what has largely been a three-receiver set this season. Broyles caught his first three NFL passes in the second half, including a 12-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left.

Burleson, of course, has excellent character and always has a keen feel for the pulse of the team. The Lions will miss his calming influence as they try to turn around what could soon be a lost season.