Trey Burton has come a long way since he was Mr. Everything at the University of Florida. Back then he played receiver, running back, quarterback and the Guy Who Had To Have The Ball for an offensively challenged Gators team. In the NFL, he had to learn a position.
He's done that well, becoming a tight end for the Eagles when he signed with the team following the 2014 NFL Draft. In Thursday's loss at Detroit, Burton was a bit of a bright spot with his first two career receptions, the first of which gained 43 yards and set up the Eagles' first touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.
"I owe everything to Brent Celek and Zach Ertz and my coach, Justin Peelle," said Burton, who gained 49 yards on his catches playing in place of Ertz, who was out of the game with a concussion. "It was a great learning experience for me. I mean, I dreamed of this from a really young age, to play in the NFL on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. Obviously, we would have wished the outcome was better. That's No. 1. But for me I'm trying to enjoy any time I get and trying to take advantage of the reps."
Burton's big gain, which came on the next-to-last play of the first quarter, looked simple. He caught a short pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez in the middle of the field and then Burton made the rest on his own. He used his speed and his legs to get down the field to the 5-yard line. Three plays later, early in the second quarter, Sanchez went to Celek for a touchdown and the game was tied, albeit for a short while.
"I had a great play called. The linebackers bit on the play-action, which we knew they were going to do, and Mark put the ball perfectly over the linebacker's head. I caught it and started running. Miles (Austin) had an unbelievable block and I really wish I would have scored. Looking back, I really wish I had done something to get into the end zone, but I'm just glad to have had the opportunity."
Ertz has eight more days to get ready for the next game in New England, so there is no telling what role Burton might play against the Patriots. At the very least, he's going to be a core member of special teams – Burton leads the team in special teams tackles and had two more on Thursday – and maybe, just maybe, Burton will get another chance to run some routes and contribute to the offense.
"Whatever they need is fine with me," he said. "You get a chance and you make the most of it. That's how it works in the NFL."