He could have quit, but this Raiders rookie will ‘just fight’ for his love of football

It has been a long road for former Fresno State wide receiver Brian Burt. He doesn’t mind it if it means getting an opportunity in the NFL.

Burt, listed at 5-foot-11 and 194 pounds, did well in an Oakland Raiders tryout and earned a spot at Raiders training camp in Napa beginning July 26, trying to make the 53-man roster.

“I’m going to do what I’ve always done and just fight,” he said. “Training camp is just going to be fun. Play football and compete and do all the stuff with pads and separate the men from the boys. I cannot wait to keep learning from AB (Antonio Brown), Tyrell (Williams) and all of the good receivers and just build together.”

The journey started for Burt when he competed in football and track and field at Eastmont High in East Wenatchee, Wash.

He was an all-around track standout, competing in the 100, 200, high jump, long jump, triple jump and 400 and 1,600 relay teams. His speed helped him get a track scholarship to Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore., where in 2015 he ran the 100 and 400 relay.

But Lane didn’t have football and Burt transferred to Mesa College in Arizona, where he began to concentrate on the game. He transferred from there to Ventura College, coached by former Fresno State assistant/Fresno City College coach Steve Mooshagian.

Mooshagian switched Burt to running back. As a sophomore, Burt appeared in 11 games and rushed 87 times for 563 yards and four touchdowns and added 14 receptions for 212 yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns.

Burt transferred to Fresno State, switched to receiver and played sparingly, appearing in one game in 2016 and six last season, with just 24 total yards.

No matter, Mooshagian said.

“He has a humble chip on his shoulder,” the coach said. “We gave him an opportunity to play tailback and we would go to the empty sets and he would play receiver. He started evolving as a receiver. There were still some learning curves for him and the fact he was learning a new offense was a big thing.”

Burt solidified his potential in front of NFL scouts at Fresno State Pro Day.

He ran the 40-yard sprint in 4.31 seconds. Burt said he didn’t want to give up on football.

“I could’ve easily given up at Fresno State,” he said. “I knew what I wanted to do and this is what God wanted me to do. You get to play football on the biggest stage. I’m just a fighter. I love football.”

He’ll get an opportunity at training camp – in front of TV cameras, to boot. “Hard Knocks” is there to film the Raiders for HBO.

On July 23, rookies report to the team’s training camp facility at the Napa Valley Marriott.

Burt said he’s ready.

“I’m a fighter and I’m a grinder,” he said. “I’ve been like that my whole life. I made it this far. I’m blessed and humble and I’m going to keep working and I promise you I’ll be a problem in the NFL”

Anthony Galaviz: 559-441-6042, agalaviz_TheBee

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.