One of the reasons the Massachusetts Pirates have enjoyed success this season is due in part to the play and passion of defensive lineman Kaelin Burnett.
Burnett hails from Los Angeles, CA. He stated love of football began at age six when his mom signed him up for flag football and he’s been playing ever since. He did play a little baseball but when he got to Mayfair High School in Lakewood, he competed in the 300 intermediate hurdles, 110 hurdles and the high jump. His main sports was football, but he persevered when it came to track.
“The stamina to run the 300’s is insane but I got through it. I placed in a few races, but it was tough,” he said.
When it game to the gridiron, Mayfair was not a football factory but the school did produce D1 talent.
“We put out a few guys. Alterraun Verner who played with the Titans and the Buccaneers was with Miami last year. There were a few others who played Division One but he and I where the ones who became professionals,” Burnett said.
Burnett went on to play his college ball at Nevada where in his three seasons with the Wolf Pack the team went 28-12. As a junior in 2010 he helped the team to a 13-1 record, a ranking of seventh in the final Associated Press poll and a 20-13 victory over Luke Kuechly and Boston College in the Fight Hunger Bowl. In his final season he tallied 51 tackles and five sacks.
His hard work at the colligate level paid off as Burnett signed as an undrafted free agent and played parts of three seasons with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans including a full season with the Raiders in 2013 alongside his brother Kevin who enjoyed a nine year career in the NFL.
In 2016 Burnett’s love for the game took him north to Saskatchewan and the Canadian Football League. Last season saw him in the arena game, notching 20 tackles with Spokane of the Indoor Football League.
His ability to adapt has been a big reason for his success with the Pirates.
“The Arena game is faster. Even when I was in the CFL it was kind of fast with only three downs. I feel that the high motion players make the game very fast. It really makes you work on your technique because every step you take, every move, has to be toward where you are trying to go. It’s so quick that you have to be on top of your game. The Biggest adjustment is your “get off.” Your “get off” is everything on the defensive line. That first step is everything. As long as I get a good “off” and get them kicking back, the quicker my opponent opens the door and the quicker I can get to the quarterback.”
As for the Pirates, Burnett only sees his new team getting better.
“It’s great. It’s a brand new organization but now we are familiar with each other. The comradery is everything. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We pick each other up when someone else is lacking. We feed off each other so it doesn’t get any better than that.”
As the season progresses Burnett says he will use his past experience in a leadership role, but supporting Head Coach Ameer Ismail and the coaching staff is what counts.
“I try to voice my opinion as much as possible, but I let the head coach be the head coach. That’s why he’s here. Coaches coach and players play.”
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. Pirate Nation Season Ticket Memberships for the 2018 season are now available. Pirate Nation Memberships start as low as $60.00. To become a Pirate Nation Season Ticket member or for more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For group outings please call Kara Mancini at 508-929-0125 or email email@example.com. Follow the Pirates on facebook at facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.