Bears’ new cornerback Artie Burns' inspiring journey to the NFL

Bears’ new cornerback Artie Burns' inspiring journey to the NFL

Once it was announced that Chicago signed Pittsburgh Steelers’ cornerback Artie Burns to a one-year deal on Saturday, fans scoured the web to see what information they could find about the newest member of the Bears’ defense. Something many fans might not know is that Burns has overcome a lot of obstacles to get where he is today. 

Before he was the Steelers’ first-round, 25th overall pick in 2016, Burns become the man of his household after his father left when he was 11-years-old. Burns’ father, Artie Burns Sr., has been serving a prison sentence at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina since 2006. Burns Sr. has not seen his son since leaving the family but listened on the prison radio as his son was drafted to the NFL. He called Burns to congratulate him.

Burns spent most of his childhood helping his mother raise his two younger brothers.

 "I had to step up and be that male role model to them," Burns said in a 2016 interview with ESPN. "We depended on each other."

Burns’ role as caregiver grew after his mother died of a heart attack in 2015. 

"[Her death] kind of motivated me to keep going, and that is definitely going to motivate me now to step into the league and win a Super Bowl," Burns said to ESPN. 

At 24 years old, Burns is the sole provider for his brothers, girlfriend and child, which motivates him even more to excel on and off the field. In 2017, Burns won the Steelers’ Ed Block Courage Award for his dedication to the team and his family. 

Burns is a player with heart and determination, which is exactly what the Bears’ organization needs as they strive to make the playoffs in 2020-21.

RELATED: Bears sign former 1st round pick CB Burns to one-year deal

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Bears' offense ranks among the NFL's worst analytically, new study finds

Bears' offense ranks among the NFL's worst analytically, new study finds

The Bears' offense was bad last year. I know that. You know that. The Bears (hopefully?) know that. 

But *extremely 30 For 30 voice* what if I told you just how bad they really were? Would you be interested in that? You wouldn't be? Sorry, got a quota to hit. 

In a fascinating new study written by Rotoworld's Hayden Weeks, the lack of modern wrinkles in Chicago's offense are made painstakingly clear. Weeks took an analytically-slanted look at every NFL offense, and friends, it's a rough read: 

4th Down Aggressiveness: 23rd
Pass Rate on Early Downs: 9th
Pass Rate While Trailing: 13th
Play-Action Rate: 27th
Downfield Pass Rate: 16th
Middle of the Field Pass Rate: 5th
Pre-Snap Motion Percentage: 30th
Outside Run Rate: 20th
Shotgun Run Rate: 5th
Offensive Pace: 22nd

Overall, Weeks ranks the Bears as the 22nd best offense in football based on the above metrics. If there's any hope whatsoever, it comes from his short write up of Nagy's offense – but still, temper your expectations: 

If I incorporated the front office, the Bears would be much lower, but I think Nagy holds his own in terms of in-game analytics usage. He’s just been dealt a horrible hand at quarterback and with the offensive line. Nagy opted for a decent pass rate on early downs (9th) and while trailing (13th), plus uses shotgun a lot and targets the middle of the field (5th). There are a few things holding him back from jumping into Tier 3, however. The Bears weren’t aggressive enough on fourth downs (23rd) and didn't use play action (27th) or pre-snap motion (30th) nearly enough. Maybe the quarterback change sparks change.

Bears: Use play action! Just try it! I promise you'll like it. 

Did Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' mega-deal actually leave money on table?

Did Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' mega-deal actually leave money on table?

Patrick Mahomes forever altered the sports contract landscape with his landmark 10-year, $450 million extension that became official this week. It made all the sense in the world to lock up the 2018 MVP whose team could very easily be coming off back-to-back Super Bowl titles if not for a nail-biting loss to the eventual-champion Patriots in the 2019 AFC Championship game. But Brad Spielberger, who does extensive salary cap research and writing for, believes Mahomes could have massively cashed in again if he took a different approach to these negotiations

Coming in, we knew this was going to be a groundbreaking deal in some respects... I really didn’t think he was going to give up that many years of control – it’s basically a lifetime contract. Again, I know it’s maybe up to half a billion dollars, so it sounds crazy to maybe question his thinking there, but in 5, 6, 7 years down the road, he probably could have gotten another deal that would have made this one look small in comparison.

Every team in the league would love this deal… every front office in the NFL would say, the fact that they have this much time on this deal is the best part about it. Again, it’s a monstrous deal and there are outs at certain points so it’s not so strict as to say he can’t get out of it or he can’t work with it. If I’m his agent, I would push for 5 years, $200M fully guaranteed; let’s go mega-Kirk Cousins on steroids, let’s change the game, and then let’s see if we can sign a deal for $50M a year when that one runs out.

The scenario painted there is an interesting one, and might have allowed Mahomes to reset the quarterback market twice in a decade… but we’ll never know. For more from Spielberger, including how the Mahomes deal impacts the Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson negotiations and what the Bears’ offseason moves tell him about the mindset of Ryan Pace’s front office, listen to the most recent edition of the Under Center podcast here or below.