Trey Burton

Trey Burton felt anxious, uncomfortable, running 'Philly Special' trick play with Bears

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AP

Trey Burton felt anxious, uncomfortable, running 'Philly Special' trick play with Bears

Trey Burton pulled off one of the most unbelievable plays in Super Bowl history with the Eagles in Super Bowl 52. 

The "Philly Special" featured Burton, who played some quarterback in college at Florida, throwing a touchdown pass to Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. The play has been used in college football and the NFL on numerous occasions since, including Sunday by the Bears against the Giants.

However, Burton did not feel comfortable running the play this time around.

“When they put it up on the board (in practice), I got crazy anxiety,” Burton said. “I was kind of freaking out a bit because a ton of unbelievable memories come back to mind from the Super Bowl. … I just remember going out and not really saying much, going out to practice and trying to do it. I just couldn’t. 

"Physically, there was some type of block, wasn't letting me do it. I told [Bears head coach Matt Nagy] 'Hey coach, I'm having crazy anxiety.' I couldn't sleep that night thinking about it.

"There were so many really good memories, but I'm not there anymore," he said. "I'm on a different team doing something different. I just didn't feel comfortable."

Kudos to Burton for both speaking up to Nagy about his anxiety and sharing it with the public, which is not the easiest thing to do. In the end, the Bears pulled off the play anyhow, with Tarik Cohen finding Anthony Miller in the end zone to force overtime.

The Giants won in overtime, but the "Chicago Special" was still cool, nonetheless.

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Bears tight end Trey Burton nominated for NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

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USA TODAY

Bears tight end Trey Burton nominated for NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

Trey Burton's impact on the field for the Bears this season has not gone unnoticed. Thursday, though, he was recognized for his impact off the field.

The Bears announced that Burton, 27, is the team's nominee for the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

"It's an incredible and humbling honor to be nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award," Burton said in a press release. "I'm so thankful for everyone who has supported me in my career, most importantly my wife, family, teammates, coaches and the Bears organization.

"To even be mentioned in the same breath as Walter Payton is truly special and I hope to continue following in his footsteps to make a lasting impact on our community."

Burton, who signed a four-year deal with the Bears in the offseason, has 38 catches for 448 yards and five touchdowns this season. This season, he has pledged $1,000 for every catch he makes and $2,500 for every touchdown he scores to International Justice Mission, an organization seeking to end the slave trade.

First awarded in 1970, the award recognizes an NFL player "for his excellence on and off the field." Payton won the award himself in 1977; it was renamed in his honor in 1999, shortly after he passed away.  

Charles Tillman is the last Bears player to win the award, doing so in 2013. Mike Singletary won the award in 1990, while Dave Duerson did so in 1987.

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How Cody Parkey and Trey Burton are using their platform during NFL’s ‘My Cause, My Cleats’ week

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USA Today

How Cody Parkey and Trey Burton are using their platform during NFL’s ‘My Cause, My Cleats’ week

For Bears kicker Cody Parkey, there’s a bit of serendipity the cause he’s supporting with his cleats as part of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” initiative this weekend. 

Parkey’s cleats will promote the Lutzie 43 Foundation, which was started in the memory of former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, who died in a car accident in 2014. Parkey played with Lutzenkirchen at Auburn, and said that supporting the Lutzie 43 Foundation is even more special given the fandom of his former teammates. 

“For me, it’s not about recognition or anything like that,” Parkey said. “It’s just another way for me to honor Philip and I know he’s smiling down at me and I know his favorite team is the Bears. That’s even cooler. … It’s pretty cool for me to be on the Bears and be able to honor him.”

Parkey became friends with Lutzenkirchen, Auburn’s all-time leader in receiving touchdowns, during their playing days in college. He was only 23 when he was killed in a single-car accident, in which Lutzenkirchen was not wearing his seatbelt. 

The Lutzie 43 Foundation promotes safe driving habits among young people, a cause for which Parkey is eager to spread awareness. 

“It means a lot,” Parkey said. “Philip was a really good friend of mine at Auburn. I wear his bracelet every day. It’s something that’s close to me, and I’ve become close with his family and his sister, his mom and dad. It for me was a no-brainer. It was, this is what I want to do, I want to represent Philip and at the same time promoting safe driving. 

“They came out with the 43 key seconds, so Philip’s number was 43 and that’s kind of where that comes from. You put this key on your keychain and it’s something you look for before you start the car and it just reminds, you is everything out of my hands, don’t use your cell phone, stuff like that. I think it’s a really cool initiative and it’s going to help the foundation out a lot as they continue to just help people out throughout the nation.”

Taking advantage of his platform

For Trey Burton, the opportunity to promote a cause with his platform was something that was important to him and his wife before he threw the “Philly Special” touchdown in Super Bowl LII or signed a rich four-year contract with the Bears. Three years ago, the Burtons heard International Justice Mission CEO Gary Haugen speak and were moved to get involved with the foundation, which focuses on ending the slave trade globally with a focus on child sex trafficking. 

Burton is one of four players who will be representing International Justice Mission with their cleats this weekend, joining Denver’s Max Garcia, New England’s Matthew Slater and New Orleans’ Benjamin Watson. 

“I’ve seen it come to fruition in a huge way,” Burton said of his involvement in the foundation. “For example, two years ago we went to the Dominican — I went there with five or six other NFL players. This year, we went back and we were able to get a meeting with the vice president and someone who’s similar to the attorney general here in America over there. 

“And they’re changing laws now for sex trafficking — I wouldn’t say just because of us going there, but we were able to sit and talk to him about the issue and told IJM they have every available resource available in the country to stop trafficking. Just that awareness is huge and it’s bigger than what we think.”

For Burton, using his platform to try to make a difference in the world is an important part of his career. The Bears released a behind-the-scenes photo gallery of how Burton's cleats were designed, which you can view here. 

“I’m only going to play this game for so long,” Burton said. “And I feel like if I don’t take advantage of these opportunities like this and other guys don’t take advantage of it, they’re missing out on a huge part on what they’re able to do.”