Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson acknowledged that his penchant for multitasking while driving nearly killed him earlier this week.
"For me, a bad habit could've cost me my life," Burleson told reporters Friday.
Burleson lost control of his car early Tuesday on a suburban Detroit highway and hit a centre median wall. He broke his left arm and blamed the one-car accident on trying to do too much: He had just plugged in his phone and was trying prevent two pizza boxes from sliding off the front passenger's seat.
"I usually multitask a lot when I'm driving," he said. "And I've heard it all before, 'Don't do it.' Yeah, that'll be the last time."
Earlier this week, Lions coach Jim Schwartz admitted he had "cured" himself of texting while driving, but still need to fix his habit of "eating and driving." "There's too many times I leave the office real late at night, and you grab something — and I've had it happen to me — drop it on your lap or do something else," Schwartz said. "That's stuff we all need to learn from."
Burleson had surgery Wednesday and while the early indications are positive, he didn't want to predict when he'll be back on the field. He said it will be "sooner than a lot of people expect."
"The good thing is, I walked away with injuries to my arm," Burleson said. "Totalled vehicle. If you look at the car, I'll take this any day of the week. You learn from it, and become a better driver."
Burleson has a team-high 19 catches — 10 for first downs — and his 239 yards receiving is second to Calvin Johnson on the Lions. The 11-year veteran had six receptions for 116 yards, his highest total since 2007, on Sunday to help Detroit win at Washington for the first time in franchise history.
The Lions (2-1) will be without their No. 2 receiver on Sunday at home against Chicago (2-1) but they didn't put him on injured reserve because they expect him to return this year.
"Once his stitches and everything else heal up, he'll also be able to run, run routes," Schwartz said. "He won't be able to catch the ball necessarily right away, but he'll be able to stay in the swing of things.
"When he is healed up, it shouldn't be a long time before he's able to get back on the field, so that'll be good also."