The Panthers on Friday officially signed safety Juston Burris. Burris recently spent a season and a half in Cleveland, where he finished the the year with career highs in interceptions (2), tackles (30), passes defensed (7) and sacks (1.0).
Listed at safety with past experience at safety, cornerback, nickel, Burris's ability to plug and play at any position is significant for the Panthers secondary. Before Burris suits up for Carolina, let's get to know the Panthers' newest secondary player:
A chance to come home
For Burris, signing with the Panthers marks a homecoming of sorts. Growing up in Raleigh, N.C., Burris spent his college years close to home at NC State. He was a three-year starter at cornerback for the Wolfpack, finishing his career with six interceptions, 165 tackles and a sack while helping NCSU reach three bowl games in four years.
After graduating with a degree in business administration, Burris was drafted by the Jets before he made stops in Oakland and Cleveland. Now Burris gets the chance to come back home. With his old stomping grounds just two and a half hours up the road, it's safe to say Burris will require quite a few tickets to home games this season.
Adapting on the fly
Burris hasn't had the luxury of experiencing a full season with the same team since 2017. Prior to Week 10 of the 2018 season, the Browns signed Burris off the Jets practice squad, forcing the defensive back to hit the ground running. After getting his feet under him during the final four games of the season, offseason shoulder surgery derailed Burris's hopes to build on what he started in Cleveland. As a result, he was waived during final roster cuts prior to the start of the 2019 season.
After being picked up by the Raiders, circumstances changed two weeks later when Burris was brought back to Cleveland. Two days later, he was starting at safety. Burris's teammates in Cleveland acknowledged his resiliency by picking him as the team's 2019 Ed Block Courage Award recipient, an annual award that honors one player from each NFL team who shows courage on and off the field.
An entrepreneurial mindset
Every player know football doesn't last forever. That's why many guys begin preparing themselves for life after the game while they're still playing. For Burris, that means pursuing an interest in real estate.
In January, after months of preparation, Burris and his girlfriend launched their first Airbnb home in the mountains of Asheville, called "The Hillside Haven." The project is a part of Burris's newly created rental property company, Next Stop: Carolina. While the house in Asheville is the only one on the market right now, Burris called it "the first of many."
View photos of defensive back Juston Burris during his time in Cleveland and New York.