6. Nate Burleson is taking commentary to the next level
The former wide receiver is on TV as many as six days a week, working for the NFL Network and on CBS’s The NFL Today, and his insights are more astute than anyone’s.
How hard was the transition from player to analyst?
When I first got out of the league, I still felt like I was a part of the fraternity, so I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. Then I remember one of the guys in the studio saying, “Nate, you’re clever and you’re going to make people laugh, but you have to say something. In the course of that, you might hurt some people’s feelings.” It took me some time, but I realized the more honest I was about the game, the more the fans appreciated it.
Do the players listen to the media hype?
No question. You have a rare group of guys who really just don’t watch TV, but most guys watch it. It used to be kind of taboo, because we’re all taught, “Hey, don’t get distracted and don’t let that stuff blow up your head.” Now I think guys are just open to it. If they love soap operas and reality TV, they might as well watch the reality show that they’re in.
Who are you most excited about this year?
I got my eyes on the Houston Texans and Deshaun Watson. The games he played in last year were unbelievable. He went blow-for-blow with Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. He came on our show, and we asked, “What are your goals?” He said “I’m chasing the GOAT, Tom Brady.” He hadn’t even been drafted yet.
The Jaguars. That defense is sexy as hell, man. They’re loud and they’re brash and they’re here to stay. The Jags could be my favorite squad.
Will the NFL be able to stay out of politics?
I feel like Trump is still pushing the narrative that the players are anti-American and anti-military, which is not the case. One thing I do hope is that the players stick to whatever it is that they believe in and do it because they want to see change, not because of the president’s words or anybody else’s.
What’s the preseason buildup like for you?
It’s like that week before Christmas, you know, Santa’s almost here, the decorations are up, got the milk and cookies. Kids opening up their presents, that’s opening day for us, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving the entire season.
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