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Giants’ RB coach Burton Burns fulfilling a dream, and helping a friend

At 67, Burns is coaching in the NFL for the first time

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Burton Burns
Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Burton Burns is 67 years old. He coached collegiately from 1981 until 2017, then left the sidelines to take an administrative job for Alabama.

So, what on earth is Burns doing coaching running backs for the New York Giants in 2020?

It’s about Joe Judge. And about fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“I think the situation created itself for me. I have a relationship with Joe Judge,” Burns said via videoconference on Friday. “As you go through your coaching career, you just start coaching and I think in the beginning of your career you have ambitions to do certain things. One of my long-time ambitions was to coach in the NFL. As you go through your career, you wake up from year to year and do what you’re supposed to do. Do what you do well where you’re at. I think the biggest part was Joe Judge giving me the opportunity. It’s something I wanted to do personally, to be in the NFL.”

The other part was about helping Judge, with whom Burns worked at Alabama, get his program off the ground with the Giants.

“Knowing Joe’s personality and our relationship, it was kind of like I wanted to see if I could come and help him do his thing,” Burns said.

When Judge offered him the job, Burns didn’t take long to decide.

“It didn’t hit me at first. At first, it was Joe calling me, and oh my goodness here’s this situation that I have to make a decision on. It didn’t take me long to make the decision, I promise you that. I realized I had the opportunity not only to coach Saquon, but pro football players,” Burns said.

“Just that opportunity to coach guys at the professional level. I have to tell you, I got some encouragements from some different guys that have coached pro ball. I lean on them for some assistance as far as making decisions. It just happened.”