Jake Burt is as Massachusetts as clam chowdah and hating all things New York. He was born and raised in Lynnfield, attended St. John’s Prep in Danvers, and later spent five years at Boston College. Now, he is a member of the New England Patriots, and competing in his first ever training camp in the NFL just a 45-minute drive away from his hometown.
Times are obviously exciting for the 24-year-old, not only because he is trying to make a name for himself as an undrafted rookie free agent: Burt grew up a Patriots fan, sharing allegiance with the rest of his immediate family and friends.
“Me, my friends and my family, have always been huge, huge Patriots fans,” said Burt during a media conference call on Thursday. “I’m extremely grateful to be in this situation I have been put in, and it’s really a dream come true. I’ve been taking it one day at a time, trying to improve my game and myself, and I couldn’t be more happy to be a Patriot.”
Burt entered the league coming off an injury-shortened 2019 campaign that saw him break his collarbone in a late-November game against Notre Dame. Up until that point, he had appeared in 36 games for the Eagles while being used primarily as a blocker within the team’s run-first offense.
While his role resulted in some rather pedestrian receiving statistics — Burt caught just 23 passes during his time with the program for a combined 307 yards and two touchdowns — the Patriots apparently saw some potential to work with. The team signed him to a three-year rookie deal in early May and handed him $85,000 in contractual guarantees, among them $5,000 in the form of a signing bonus.
As a result, Burt has now been given a chance to live the dream thousands of kids all over the region have: putting on a Patriots uniform and playing for the team.
“It’s obviously been a dream come true,” he acknowledged earlier this week. “Every day I walk into this building, I’m extremely grateful to the Patriots and this entire organization. I couldn’t be more happy every single day I’m here; there’s no other place I’d rather be. Growing up a fan here, and a fan of all Boston sports, it’s really a dream come true. I’m appreciating every moment I have.”
As for his moments on the Gillette Stadium practice fields, Burt has had some ups and some downs. While he missed a pair of practices for undisclosed reasons, he also was able to catch three passes during team drills following his return on Tuesday.
The odds still appear to be against him in the race for the final roster spot at tight end behind Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene: Burt is competing against third-year man Ryan Izzo, who currently seems to be in the lead to make the team, as well as Rashod Berry, Paul Butler and Paul Quessenberry. Nevertheless, the experience in itself has been a positive one for the youngster.
“It’s been great. All the guys in the room are great. Coach [Nick] Caley is great. It’s been a really fun time getting to know the guys, competing every single day. And, personally, I’ve been trying to get better every single day, make sure my game is improving every single day. That’s all I’m focused on.”
Burt is, of course, not just competing for a spot on New England’s 53-man roster, but also the increased 16-man practice squad. Given his career up until this point, it would be only fitting if he made one of them.