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Northwest Athlete Profile: Nate Burleson

NFL Football: Nate Burleson

Nate Burleson may not be a Seattle Seahawks player anymore, but the NFL wide receiver’s Northwestern roots run deep.

His family history includes close ties to Seattle, the University of Washington and even the CFL.

The Burlesons are considered by many to be “the First family of Seattle sports” – and Nate is the crown jewel.

With his father, Alvin, playing in the Canadian Football League for the Calgary Stampeders, Nate was born in Canada in 1981.

His family relocated to the U.S. when Alvin signed with the Los Angeles Express of the USFL.

The Burleson boys did most of his growing up in Seattle, however, which was Alvin’s hometown.

Nate played football ad Lindbergh High School and, later, O’Dea High School in Seattle, where he was named the Seattle Times City Athlete of the Year.

Northwest Athlete Profile: Nate Burleson

Not surprisingly, Nate wanted to play football in Seattle for the University of Washington. It was his father’s alma mater and his oldest brother, Alvin Jr., played football there.

Nate wasn’t offered a football scholarship, though, and attended Nevada instead.

Nate had an explosive career with the Wolf Pack, posting the NCAA’s second-highest single-season receptions total ever with 138 in 2002 and setting the Nevada and WAC single-game records for catches with 19.

He got his degree in human development and family studies and was off to the NFL, drafted in the third round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2003.

Nate started slowly but broke out in 2004, taking advantage of the extra snaps opened up by a Randy Moss injury. He finished the year with 68 catches for 1,006 yards and nine touchdowns.

Suddenly a hot commodity, Nate was signed by his hometown Seattle Seahawks to an offer sheet in 2006. He didn’t have his best seasons with the team as a receiver but excelled as a special teamer.

Nate is the only player in NFL history with three punt returns of 90 yards or longer.

Nate currently catches passes for the rising juggernaut Detroit Lions. Playing in tandem with Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, Nate has dubbed himself “Recepticon,” sticking with the Transformers theme.

Seattle is proud of Nate, one of its native sons, and the whole Burleson family. Another Burleson brother, Kevin, played for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats.

Nate and Kevin join Chris and Butch Carter as the only sibling tandems to ever play NFL football and NBA basketball.

Maybe the Burleson boys will produce some star athlete children to play for the Huskies and Seahawks down the road?

They’ve got great genes.

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