Linebacker Miles Burris, the newest Raider, grew up in Granite Bay, a Sacramento suburb. He grew up attending Raiders games. Now, he gets a chance to play for the team that he watched as a youngster.
He spoke with the Bay Area media in a conference call soon after the Raiders selected him with the 129th pick of the NFL draft, in the fifth round. Here is the entire transcript:
Q: Were the Raiders a team you knew were on to you, did you visit up here, talk to ‘em at combine?
Burris: I talked to ‘em at the combine and I didn’t know that they expressed interest in me and I’m just very excited to be a Raider.
Q: You’re from close by, did you root for Raiders, follow them growing up?
Burris: Yeah, I definitely did. I’m about 25 minutes east of Sacramento in a town called Granite Bay. It’s about a two-hour shot to Oakland, I’ve been to some games. It’s just going to be amazing to play on that field and wear a Raider uniform.
Q: Describe yourself as a player?
Burris: I’m a very versatile player and I pride myself on being tough and playing through every game and practice no matter how I feel and no matter what’s going on with my body. But I’m an explosive and powerful player and I just love the game. I love the violence of it and I just love to go out and compete.
Q: Did you play traditional weak-side or strong-side linebacker at San Diego State?
Burris: We ran a 3-3-5 defense, a pretty original defense. Rocky Long, our head coach, was actually kind of the creator of it. It’s kind of a linebacker’s dream of a defense. I played right outside linebacker. There’s three linebackers, left outside and right outside and one mike. But I was able to line up all over the field, blitz off the edge, line up on the tight end, outside of the box, inside the box, blitz from the inside, play Tampa 2 coverage, so I got to do a little bit of everything and I think that’s kind of what helped and worked for me in this draft.
Q: Did the Raiders say how they want to use you?
Burris: I think it’s kind of, start off as an outside linebacker, but they told me that I’m versatile enough to kind of move around if I need to, and am just eager to help wherever they need me, if that’s special teams, too, I’d love to play special teams. I just want to contribute to this organization and am just very excited to be a Raider.
Q: Who did you talk to today when Raiders called?
Burris: I talked to a lot of people, the head coach, defensive coordinator, Tom Jones, operations, public relations. I haven’t been off the phone since they called me and drafted me, and they sent me over to you guys.
Q: Had some success blitzing in college, what do you like about rushing the quarterback?
Burris: I like it a lot, a lot of time it’s a one-on-one situation, it’s you versus another guy and you’d better go beat him to get to the quarterback and it’s just a fun deal, especially when you get that sack and make that big momentum play that can help your defense out is a great feeling.
Q: Where did you take the phone call, are you in San Diego, Granite Bay . . .
Burris: I’m in Granite Bay.
Q: With family, watching the draft . .
Burris: I put it on speaker phone and they could hear the whole thing, and they’re really excited, they’re excited for me and they can come to the games. I even had to move out of the other room It’s getting a little loud, it’s hard to hear.
Q: Who do you emulate in NFL?
Burris: I’ve heard a lot of comparisons with different players, a little Clay Matthews just because of the position that I played in college. I don’t try to emulate anyone on the field. There’s things from a mental standpoint that I like about Clay Matthews and Brian Urlacher, they bring the same intensity to every play and that’s something I try and do on the field is just playas hard as I can every play and that’s when good things happen.
Q: During process, what was one thing you tried to show?
Burris: Just that I’m a versatile enough player to play any linebacker spot.
Q: McKenzie has been pretty adamant about guys that not only like to play football, but love it, live it, prepare, etc. Does that describe you?:
Burris: yes, absolutely. I’ve been playing since I was in fifth grade and after the first day of practice I knew I wanted to play in the NFL. It’s just a dream come true to be at this point right now but I know I have a whole lot of work to do right now to get on that field and to make a difference and that’s all I want to do, is I want to win games.
Q: Is Kirk Morrison still around the San Diego program, still know him at all?
Burris: You know what he came to a couple of days in our summer camp this year, or this past year before the season and it was good to talk to him a little bit, to see that he’s still a loyal Aztec and he’s an Aztec for life and he cares about our program and I wish nothing but the best for him and he’s obviously a good linebacker.
Q: Read that you did a standing back flip at your Pro Day, what was behind that?
Burris: I ended up finishing my three-cone drill and was feeling good, the crowd cheered and it was kind of a spur of the moment, spontaneous thing, and I just pulled off a back flip.
Q: We should expect that with your first special teams touchdown?
Burris: Yeah, let’s hope so.