“I feel like what we can do for this city is similar for what the Saints did in New Orleans. It’s not going to fix everything. But it’s a Band-Aid that can temporarily heal a lot of open wounds that we have in this city.”
-Nate Burleson, wide receiver, Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions hope to help the Motor City stage a major comeback
Once the successful center of the American automobile manufacturing industry, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy last month. It is the largest city in the country to ever do this. But Nate Burleson, a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, isn’t ready to give up. He and some of his fellow players believe they can help the city rise again. Burleson has even recommended a new tattoo to remind the Lions that ‘The Weight Is a Gift.’
Burleson told a YouWager news source, “A lot of people might say, ‘Man, it’s tough playing in Detroit, man. You guys went bankrupt. Your city sucks. There’s burned-down buildings, schools that are not even open, but it’s a great gift to bear that weight of the city, especially if you can deliver on a product that people want to see.”
Teammate Reggie Bush knows something about restoring pride to a city. The running back was a rookie, playing for the New Orleans Saints in 2006 when the team returned to a city ravaged by Katrina. Bush told YouWager’s source, it works both ways. The team could find a way to restore its pride as well. Bush said, “We can definitely use that as fuel to maybe help restore some pride and hope within the city, within the people. It’s obviously something that you’d like to not see happen. I always feel like things happen for a reason and you can always use a little bit of negative towards something good and make something positive out of it.”
Like their home city, the New Orleans Saints weren’t doing so well back then, either. Devoted online sportsbook bettors will remember that New Orleans went 3-13 in the 2005 NFL football wagering season. They had to train in San Antonio, Texas. When the Saints came back to the Crescent City, they fired head coach Jim Haslett, hired Sean Payton, and signed quarterback Drew Brees. Unfortunately, to really rally Detroit, the Lions would need to make that kind of comeback. Last year, they ended the season 4-12, making their playoff appearance in 2011 look like a lucky break.
So far, none of the Lions have offered to play for free.
Despite the fact that the average household income in Detroit is less than half the national average, last month, quarterback Matthew Stafford signed a three-year extension with $41.5 million in guarantees and $31.5 million in 2013. Calvin Johnson, Ezekiel Ansah and Ndamukong Suh will earn millions during the 2013 NFL football betting season. Stafford said the players do share a strong sense of responsibility, an emotional tie to the city of Detroit.
Stafford told YouWager’s source, “I think it’s always there. Any city you play in for any sports team in any league, you feel a responsibility to the city and the fans and the people of that city to do everything you can to be successful, and we’re no different.”