He chose to continue to pursue the dream. He had two private workouts with the Indianapolis Colts and the Detroit Lions before training camp began, but he wasn’t signed. Detroit worked him out again in December, he said, with the possibility of adding him to the practice squad and then to its 90-man offseason roster, but it didn’t work out.
The same thing happened with the New York Giants a couple weeks after the second workout with the Lions.
Not being able to get on a roster, particularly in January when the rosters expand, caused him to wonder if it was ever going to happen. But he kept going, supported by his faith, family, friends and Rubin.
“I just knew that there was going to be something, hopefully,” Burden said. “I just took my faith and ran with it.”
Over that time, Burden has been working out with GATA in Johns Creek, doing lifting and conditioning and also football drill work with former Falcons offensive lineman Todd Weiner. He has also been working at Barton Executive Search, whose staff includes three former Tech athletes, Ismail Muhammad, Deon Hill and Omoregie Uzzi.
Burden took part in Tech’s pro day in April, at which point he could have been signed as a street free agent, but nothing materialized. But, going into draft weekend, Rubin told him that he would make calls and see if something might happen.
Burden was in Orlando, Fla., when the call came. He’ll go to Cleveland later this week for the three-day rookie mini-camp.
There, he may well be snapping to the first overall pick in the draft, Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Burden dared dream that the two might have a future together.
“It’ll be good if we can get in the same class and get some years in together and just do this thing,” he said. “I’m excited about that.”
The odds are long. Two years ago, the Browns brought in 14 tryout players to their rookie mini-camp and signed one. Last year, it was two out of 17. Of the three, one lasted just two days. Neither of the other two made the regular-season roster.
But, after a year of waiting, it’s all he wants.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” he said. “I’ve just got to make the most of it.”