Linebacker Kevin Burnett to play with first team Friday against Atlanta
With only six practices on his Dolphin resume, it seems almost unfair that inside linebacker Kevin Burnett has to make his debut with the first-team defense in Friday night's pre-season opener at Atlanta.
Burnett's take: It's football.
"In this day and age you've been through enough battles, especially if you've been a starter in this league, that you know what to expect," Burnett said after Wednesday's final workout before the pre-season opener. "So I should be prepared to go out and play 20-30 snaps, if not the whole game. You have to be prepared to do it at any time, and do it at a high level."
Burnett certainly did it at a high level last year, not only playing on the San Diego Chargers' top-ranked defense but leading the team in tackles. In one year he made more defensive big plays - defined as sacks (6), interceptions (2), forced fumbles (1) and fumble recoveries (1) - than the guy he replaced, Channing Crowder, has made in his career.
For all that, Burnett, 28, a six-year veteran who was a second-round pick of Dallas in 2005, is unknown to Dolphin fans. If he's feeling any pressure to demonstrate his skills, he doesn't show it.
"I'm not anxious; I just want to go play my game," he said. "Nobody's expectations are higher than mine."