Canadians Nate Burleson, Andy Mulumba and Christo Bilukidi are making news.
Calgary’s Nate Burleson made an immediate impact in his return from injury to the Detroit Lions’ lineup.
The receiver earned a loud ovation from the home crowd when his named was announced in the starting lineup. He wasted no time helping his team, catching seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown (five for 67 in the first half) in a November 24 game against Tampa Bay.
In a moment of levity, Burleson celebrated his touchdown by playing the role of a pizza delivery man (buckling his seatbelt, holding the football like a pizza, and delivering it to a fan in the front row. The arm injury that has kept Burleson on the sidelines was suffered in suburban Detroit on September 24 while Burleson was driving home while carrying a takeout pizza.
The Lions ended up losing 24-21 to the Buccaneers.
“Just delivering a pizza, man,” Burleson told mlive.com’s Kyle Meinke after the game. “Just telling everyone I can do it the right way this time.”
“It (his return) was good, but I guess it’s bittersweet,” Burleson told Meinke. “Starts off sweet, then ends up sour. Like Sour Patch Kids.”
Burleson now has 26 catches for 316 yards in four games this season.
A few weeks after being released by the Oakland Raiders, Ottawa’s Christo Bilukidi is now a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals attempted to sign Bilukidi, a defensive tackle, on Nov. 4, but as NBC Sports explained the contract was nullified by the league because Bilukidi, who is Canadian, didn’t have the proper work permit to be employed in the United States.
After getting his papers together, Bilukidi signed with the Bengals on November 20.
The son of an Angolan diplomat, Bilukidi played high school football at St. Patrick’s High School in Ottawa, Ontario.
The bilingual Canadian then played defensive end for two years for the Georgia State Panthers before being drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
In 13 career games with the 6-foot-5, 320-pound defender recorded 13 tackles.
Other Canadians involved in NFL transactions this month include Toronto’s Phillip Blake, an offensive lineman who was placed on practice roster injured reserve by the Arizona Cardinals, and Hamilton-born wide receiver Austin Collie, who was released by the New England Patriots.
Montreal’s Andy Mulumba, a pass-rushing linebacker, also continued to take advantage of increased playing time with the Packers.
Mulumba recorded two solo tackles, two assisted tackles and a fumble recovery during a 26-26 tie with the Vikings on November 24.