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Burroughs, Pellot-Rosa Pressed into Duty


Marvin Burroughs took an afternoon train to NY

Marvin Burroughs was sound asleep Saturday morning when his phone began ringing off the hook. The Jets wanted Burroughs, a rookie quarterback from Villanova, to come up for their second minicamp practice.

"I was really surprised," he said. "I slept until like 9:30 and I had a few messages from my agent and a message from the Jets personnel department when I woke up."

He needed to catch a train from Philadelphia to New York. But unfortunately an early afternoon trip was the best available option.

"I believe the train left Philly at 1:30," he said. "Somebody actually picked me up at Penn Station so I didn't get lost in New York City."

Burroughs arrived at Weeb Ewbank Hall as the second session was concluding. He met a couple of people and was handed a playbook.

"I tried to study the basics last night," he said Sunday. "I was kind of thrown in the fire a little bit, but you have to handle it. That's what this league is about — it's fast-paced so you have to keep up."

On Sunday morning, the 6'1", 215-pound passer joined fellow QB Brett Ratliff on the practice field. Ratliff, an athletic player from Utah, was the lone signalcaller the day before.

"I have been working with Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer a lot," Burroughs said. "He is trying to help me through. He is a really good guy. He has been patient with us, but he is very fast-paced, just like the league is. He expects you to know your stuff."

Sitting on a stool in an overcrowded locker room, Burroughs had his head buried in his playbook Sunday afternoon. When asked if this situation was somewhat overwhelming, he simply said this was a tremendous opportunity.

"I wouldn't say it is an overwhelming situation because, playing quarterback, it comes with the territory," he said. "I am used to playing in pressure situations. I am just happy to be here and looking forward to competing."

In an adjoining room, Jesse Pellot-Rosa visited his makeshift locker. Pellot-Rosa was a key performer on the Virginia Commonwealth basketball team this season, averaging 13.3 points and 4.5 rebounds an outing. The 6'4", 195-pounder, who hadn't played organized football since high school, lined up at wide receiver this weekend.

"Camp has been kind of good. It is just a lot of different things and a lot of different adjustments," he said. "You see how big this playbook is. I just have to get used to the whole NFL game, the different coverages and getting off the line. I have a lot of work to do, man."

The VCU guard, who totaled 14 points, five rebounds and three assists in the first-round upset of Duke in the NCAA Tournament, made progress on Day Two.

"I am still trying to learn. Coach is really strict on formations and where you line up," he said. "I think I am getting a little bit better. I know the first day I was lined up all over the place. Today I felt like I was lining up in the right spots so I wasn't all over the place."

After the draft, Pellot-Rosa was told he would have the chance to try out for the Jets. He worked out twice prior to this weekend's activities and still hasn't donned any heavy football equipment other than a helmet.

"I went up to the University of Richmond for like a day and worked out there," he said. "I ran some routes and that was basically it. I think I worked out twice — once when a member of the Jets personnel department came down, and I ran some routes at Richmond."

What if someone had told him during the basketball season that he would be trying out with the New York Jets in May?

"I wouldn't believe it. I didn't believe it when the guy called me and told me," he said. "You have to see it to believe it. I am just glad I got this opportunity."

When football was aired on television each fall, he used to stare at the screen and daydream of playing once again. Virginia Commonwealth didn't have a football team but that didn't stop him from gaining at least temporary entry in pro football.

"I would say, 'Man, I could be out there playing with those guys.' The Jets gave me a shot now and I am going to keep working hard."

And even if things don't work out in football, Pellot-Rosa could attempt to play professional basketball. Versatility is always a good thing.

"If all else fails and I don't make it, then I would have no choice," he said.

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