Courtesy of USA Today
TREY BURTON STOOD at his locker stall at Lincoln Financial Field in the minutes after the Eagles fell to the Cowboys, 20-10. He wore a pair of black gym shorts, and an ice pack was sandwiched between his right shoulder blade and a thick layer of plastic wrap.
“Could you pull this down for me?” he asked as he tried to fit a black mesh Eagles sweatshirt over his sore shoulder.
Burton left the game midway through the second quarter with a right shoulder injury, received an x-ray, received good news, and returned to the field. He was featured on the majority of special teams snaps the rest of the way. Officially listed as a tight end, he’s earned his steady spot on the team’s roster as a special teams expert, the glamour-less third pillar of football teams.
Tug, pull, yank, grunt. The sweatshirt reluctantly eased over the ice pack and plastic.
Then Burton slung a black backpack over his left shoulder and made his way from his locker, leaving behind locker mate Zach Ertz in a sea of reporters.
Nobody stopped Burton to ask how his shoulder was feeling.
Because of his high school coach, John Peacock, Burton tries to play through pain as long as he can. Growing up, from high school to college, he saw other players — sometimes teammates — step out of games with minor injuries, missing a couple of plays to rest up an ailing extremity.
Burton said Peacock taught him that if “you might be hurt, but you’re not injured,” you don’t come out. Every player on a football field is hurting, Peacock told him. You don’t stop playing football when you’re hurting.
You sit down when you’re injured, and not a moment sooner.
“Tough, physical, never giving up,” Burton said.
That’s how Peacock wanted his players to play the game, so Burton did, and Burton does, and Burton will.
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