By Steve Corkran
Sunday, March 17th, 2013 at 7:52 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Here is the transcript from a conference call with linebacker Kevin Burnett a short time after he signed with the Raiders on Sunday:
Q: When you got released from the Dolphins, how long before you got on the phone with your brother [current Raiders LB Kaelin Burnett]?
Burnett: I don’t think anybody was too excited about calling me at that point. I mean, I didn’t talk to him until a couple of days ago when I was on my way to Oakland actually. Well, actually wait, let me back that up. I got released, I told him that day, I was supposed to fly out the night I got released, so the day … so that was the day I talked to him.
Q: When you were in Miami, were you primarily a ‘4-3 under’ defense? What was that like in terms of coming over to the Raiders and Coach Allen said he wanted a multiple defense being it’ll be more 3-4…is there something you’re more comfortable playing or something you just know you can adapt and play that type of scheme?
Burnett: Coming in and meeting with the coaching staff and what they want to accomplish, defense is defense actually, either you’re good or you’re bad. Middle of the pack, usually middle of the pack doesn’t get it done, so what I’ve been told is we’re trying to make best fit today and at this point, it’s what about where you fit in. The personnel fit really well for them and I look forward to coming and playing, so I think they’ll change for the players. To answer your question real short, they’re going to change their defense to what we do best. It’s going to be a matter of us putting together the pieces one by one, so whatever we pick up is what we’ll run.
Q: How did this whole process come about? How quickly did you hear from the Raiders and did you hear from any teams?
Burnett: I heard from teams rather quickly. These were probably the longest four days of my life. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling. The Raiders, they were in it from day one. This is all a blur for me right now, so I really can’t answer that question. It all happened fairly quick, I’ll put it that way.
Q: Three years ago, when the Raiders had some interest in you, what do you recall of that meeting with the Raiders and how close did you come to being a Raider back then?
Burnett: The only thing I remember about that was I know I didn’t get an offer from the Raiders. So I came in, took a physical and never got an offer and that was the end of it. I flew out…I came in, took a physical and I flew out probably 12:30-1:00 that day. It was an opportunity that just didn’t come to fruition, but now I’m a Raider, so who cares about it.
Q: Having played the Raiders each of the past three seasons, what do you make of the roster?
Burnett: What do I make of the roster? To be honest with you, I haven’t looked at the roster, number one. Number two, what the roster looks like now is not what it’s going to look like come September 1, so who knows from myself to everybody to guy 53, who knows who’s going to be here? Nobody is exempt at this point…the mere fact that we’re having this conversation proves that.
Q: What were your primary factors that you made you want to sign with the Raiders?
Burnett: It had to be a fit. It had to be a need and it had to be something that I think we were all willing to do. More importantly, you had to have the money, the economics, the coaching, it all had to be right. That’s all part of the fit.
Q: How much of a sibling rivalry…what kind of relationship do you guys have football-wise?
Burnett: Oh man, that’s my brother. I think the biggest thing was I told him was I wasn’t coming in to play the same position as my brother. I’ll go on record saying that. I want to make sure that we all understand that I’m coming in here to assist my brother, first and foremost, and come in here and play the best I can, provide leadership, and ownership of your responsibilities. Other than that, I can’t go out and win games solely by myself. It’s a team game, so this is going to be a true test of every man on the team’s ability to come together and play as one and be one heartbeat.
Q: Even though Tony Sparano was an offensive guy, did that play any part in terms of maybe signing with the Raiders, knowing that you had somebody to help vouch for you in terms of what you did in Miami even though it was one year he got to see you play?
Burnett: Oh me and Tony go back. Tony is actually out of those eight years I’ve been in the league, he’s seen me play in five of them, so he’s been my head coach for one, but we were together four years, however many years in Dallas, but he’s been able to watch me grow and mature as a player. I think it was very important to me getting here because I don’t think I was even on the radar and I don’t think they would have brought me in without Tony having the first-hand experience with me.
Q: What was it like when you found out that your brother had made the Raiders roster at the end of the season? What was your guys’ dynamic at that point?
Burnett: We were both excited. It was exciting just to know that now you have two of you playing in the National Football League. I’m not sure if there’s ever in the history of the NFL, been two brothers that have played on the same team. I’d have to do my homework on it. I want to say that’s a first. It’ll probably be more exciting if we’re on the field at the same time.