ALAMEDA (AP) — Miles Burris went from being a promising rookie to an injured afterthought in less than a year with the Oakland Raiders.
Now that his injured knee is completely healthy, Burris is making a run to regain the starting linebacker job he lost when he got hurt a year ago.
Burris has been lining up as the first-team weakside linebacker at this week’s mandatory minicamp that serve as the Raiders’ final practices before they start training camp late next month.
Burris started 15 games as a rookie in 2012 before playing just sparingly last season when he most of the year recovering from knee surgery before playing six games as a reserve and special teamer. It was the first time he ever missed a game at any level due to injury.
“Mentally that was one of the toughest things that I’ve been through,” he said. “One of the darkest years of my life but that’s where my faith came through so greatly.”
When the Raiders drafted outside linebacker Khalil Mack last month, it appeared as if there would be no starting spot for Burris this season as Sio Moore was expected to move to weakside linebacker after a strong rookie campaign on the strong side. Oakland also had returning starter Kevin Burnett at the position, leaving little opportunity for Burris.
But with Burnett nursing an ankle injury and missing some of the voluntary offseason workouts and Burris stepping up his game, he is getting a chance to show what he can do with the first team.
“Everything we’ve seen so far out of Miles this offseason has indicated that he’s healthy and ready to go,” coach Dennis Allen said. “He had a really good year for us two years ago. Unfortunately, last year he was injured most of the season and we really didn’t have the Miles Burris we think he’s capable of being. He’s had a good offseason and he’s put himself in the mix.”
Allen said it was too early to read anything into possible starters for the regular season but added that there is more competition at all positions this offseason as the Raiders have added needed depth to the roster.