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Jake Burt wasn’t in the New England Patriots’ opening-day lineup Sunday, but there’s a possibility the rookie tight end with St. John’s roots could make his NFL debut with the Pats down the road.
The Patriots opened their season Sunday with a 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Burt is the son of St. John’s native Scott Burt. Scott Burt played junior and senior baseball for the Guards and, most notably, water polo for the NAAC (Aquarena) Bulldogs.
The elder Burt played water polo internationally for Canada at both the junior and senior levels, including the Pan American Games, and attended the University of California at Santa Barbara on an athletic scholarship. He earned All-American status while at Santa Barbara.
The younger Burt, who grew up in the Boston area, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Pats following the NFL draft last summer, but failed to crack the team’s 53-man roster in training camp.
However, Jake Burt did sign on as a member of the Pats’ practice squad for the 2020 season.
He played college football at Boston College, finishing his NCAA career with 23 receptions for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
“There is no better place to develop and become a great player than under Bill Belichick, tight ends coach Nick Caley and the New England Patriots,” Burt’s agent, Sean Stellato, told reporters.
“The practice squad isn’t like it was 20 years ago. Nowadays, these guys are a play or two away from ending up on the active roster,” said Stellato. “And you have to give the Patriots organization a lot of credit as well, because they find guys like Jake who are great athletes but may not have gotten to show off their skill as much due to the offense they ran or whatever the case may be.
“They give guys like Jake an opportunity to prove themselves, and then it’s up to the player to make it happen.”
According to media reports, “The camp experience was an eye-opening one for Burt, who battled with four different tight ends for practice time. He showed flashes of brilliance throughout camp, making a few one-handed catches and even hauling in a touchdown pass during the team's scrimmage game.”