Super Bowl champion has ties to Shore
(Delmarvanow.com) -- Wayne Burton was on the edge of his seat as the final minutes ticked down in Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.
Philadelphia led by five with just more than two minutes remaining, but preparing to drive his team down the field was NFL MVP and five-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady.
“When he’s on the field, something good always happens for New England,” Burton thought to himself. “(The Eagles) needed a big defensive play.”
As Burton prayed for a stop, Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham burst through the Patriots’ offensive line, forcing a strip-sack that gave the Eagles the ball on the Patriots' 28-yard line.
Philadelphia kicked a field goal and went on to win the team’s first Super Bowl in history, but for Burton and his family, the victory marked something much bigger.
Serving as the team’s third tight end, Trey Burton, the second cousin of Wayne Burton, had just won his first championship, with his family cheering him on from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
“We were just glad to see him do well,” Wayne Burton said. “Everyone was cheering and hollering, happy to see him get it.”
The tight end is also the grandson of Lawrence Burton, a Northampton native who was a first-round draft pick by the New Orleans Saints in 1975, while also taking part in the 1972 Olympics in the 200-meter final.
Wayne Burton said he and Trey Burton have a good relationship, despite only seeing each other once or twice a year.
With Wayne Burton acting as the manager for the Accomack County Parks and Recreation department, and Trey Burton busy with the team, time together for the two is rare, but the Virginia native is hopeful that will soon change.
Once the excitement surrounding the Super Bowl win dies down, Wayne Burton is looking to have his cousin down in Accomack to speak with some of the local youth.
Although Trey Burton — who grew up in Florida — never lived on the Shore, Wayne Burton said having roots in the area classifies him as a Virginian.
“I don’t care how tall a tree is, it has roots,” Wayne Burton said. “If he comes, it tells kids, ‘I might be a big star, but my roots are here.' He’s a very humble person, and he’s never too big to give back.”
Wayne Burton hopes to bring his cousin to Virginia sometime in March, so he and possibly other members of the Super Bowl team can speak with kids around the area about sportsmanship and hard work.
Knowing the Eastern Shore of Virginia is a “small town area,” Wayne Burton thinks it would be great for youths to see somebody they watch on TV who started his athletic career in a similar environment.
“He’s not a figment of their imagination,” Wayne Burton said. “He’d be very inspirational to these kids. It would be very encouraging, and that’s the main goal.
"They said a bunch of negative stuff of TV (about NFL players), but this situation, where someone has small town roots, proves that if you do what’s right and work hard, you can make it big.”
The Accomack Parks and Rec manager said he will try and get his cousin to speak to several elementary schools, calling as many principals he needs to set things up.
Although most NFL appearances are set up through a public relations representative, Wayne Burton said he doesn’t think that will be an issue, saying asking Trey Burton to speak would fall under a “family situation.”
With Trey Burton is participating in several charity events, including missionary work with fellow Eagles Nick Foles and Zach Ertz, according to Wayne Burton, the Virginia native is confident his second cousin will return to his roots, giving a message of inspiration while retelling the epic tale of Philadelphia’s historic Super Bowl win.
“People will be knocking on the door wanting a chance to meet him,” Wayne Burton said with a laugh. “It will be tremendous.”