GREEN BAY – The Packers have added depth and experience at inside linebacker with the signing of fourth-year veteran James Burgess.
Burgess, 26, has amassed 163 career tackles with eight passes defensed, 4½ sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 27 regular-season games (21 starts).
Here are five things to know about Green Bay's new linebacker:
1. The Packers are the ninth NFL uniform Burgess has worn.
After signing with Miami as an undrafted free agent in 2016, Burgess was a member of five different practice squads during his rookie season (Dolphins, Chargers, Ravens, Jaguars and Browns). He spent three seasons in Cleveland before signing to the Dolphins' practice squad near the end of the 2018 season. Burgess spent all of 2019 with the Jets, reuniting with former Dolphins coach Adam Gase. He was among their final cuts at the end of training camp this summer and spent a week on Atlanta's practice squad before signing with Green Bay.
2. He led the Jets in tackles last season.
Burgess had quite the 2019 campaign with the Jets. Despite spending the first seven weeks on New York's practice squad, the 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker went on to lead the defense with 80 tackles (eight for a loss). According to Radar360, Burgess was one of just five defensive players to tally at least 75 tackles, five passes defensed and five tackles for loss over the final 10 games of the regular season. Burgess had arguably his best game as a pro against Miami last December, registering 12 tackles and a forced fumble in a 22-21 win.
3. He has NFL bloodlines.
Burgess is the son of former NFL linebacker James Burgess, who played two seasons with the Chargers in 1997-98. James Sr. also was an All-XFL player for the Orlando Rage in 2001 and spent a season with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders. His uncle on his mother's side, Willie Middlebrooks, was a former first-round pick for Denver who played six seasons in the NFL.
4. He's a former high school All-American.
Burgess was a high school All-American at Homestead (Fla.) Senior High School, where he was a teammate of former Packers receiver/cornerback Herb Waters. He almost joined Waters at the University of Miami (Fla.), his dad's alma mater, before opting to play for Charlie Strong at Louisville. Burgess registered 260 tackles (30 for loss) with 13 passes defensed, seven interceptions and four sacks in 47 collegiate games.
5. He has ties to the Packers' roster.
Burgess was a college teammate of Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander at Louisville and started nine games next to current Green Bay linebacker Christian Kirksey in Cleveland in 2017. Burgess' first NFL forced fumble of Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle on Sept. 24, 2017, was recovered by Kirksey.