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.