Chicago Bears fullback Michael Burton (46) reacts to scoring a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Saints' Michael Burton happy to join team that values fullbacks

Amos Morale III
March 24, 2020 - 10:19 am

It’s safe to say that New Orleans Saints fullback Michael Burton has done the math.

So when the 6-foot, 240-pound free agent had a chance to sign a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints, he knew that would equal success.

“There's somewhere between 20-25% playtime for the fullback,” Burton said via teleconference. “That's very exciting and I really enjoyed the area and just really the organization from top down. I'm just really thankful to be back.”

Burton spent the 2019 preseason with New Orleans before suffering an injury. After recovering he played in 10 games for Washington, also contributing on special teams, where he recorded a career-high six tackles.

“I had an outstanding experience (in New Orleans),” Burton said. “I got hurt at training camp at a very inopportune time, but the experience I had, the coaches I knew over there and the historical playtime percentage that the Saints use both on offense and special teams, they are very fullback-friendly, it’s a great opportunity to showcase my skills.“

The Saints were in the market for a fullback after Zach Line retired following the 2019 season. Burton said he learned a lot from line last preseason.

“Now that he’s moved on, (I hope to) be able to fill that void and be one of those great fullbacks that the Saints always have,” he said. “You look at Zach, the previous years, John Kuhn a few years ago, Austin Johnson, a few years ago, Jed Collins a few years ago, you have had a great fullback in place. That’s the goal to have the right guy.”

The usage rate of fullbacks by the Saints isn’t the only perk of joining the franchise. Burton is also excited about how New Orleans deploys the position — mainly to block for running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray.

“Me and Zach used to joke about it like they make our jobs so much easier, you don't necessarily block a guy 10 yards out of the way for those guys because as long as you make contact they're going to usually make you right because they're so talented,” he said. “(I’m) Just really blessed and thankful to be in a room with those two guys for sure.” 

Burton in addition to returning to the Saints’ locker room Burton is excited about the Saints coaching staff, one he shares a strong bond with. 

Assistant coach Joe Lombardi was his offensive coordinator when he was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Saints special team’s coordinator Darren Rizzi coached at his alma matre, Rutgers and the assistant special teams coach Phil Galliano, coached Burton while he was a Scarlett Knight. 

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