It was a rough couple of months for James Burgess.
The former University of Louisville linebacker was ejected from his last game - the Music City Bowl - on Texas A&M's first drive for targeting and then despite a stellar career didn't get invited to the NFL Combine.
But Burgess didn't get down.
"It just made me work that much harder," Burgess said. "I know what I can do, I know what kind of a player I am. I just had to work hard and I think in the end it will all pay off for me."
With no combine, Burgess had one chance to prove himself. With 31 NFL teams in attendance at Louisville's Pro Day on Wednesday, Burgess said he "wanted to show them what I can do."
And that's what he did.
Burgess measured 6-foot - noting that "I was hoping to get to that mark" - and weighed in at 226 pounds. He ran a 4.55 40-yard dash and said that time would "hopefully open some eyes."
"I wanted to be under 4.6, I felt like that would really open some eyes," Burgess said. "I think they saw that I can run."
The 40 time for Burgess would ranked him in the top five among inside linebackers at the combine and he said it was the speed and his position work that made him feel like he had a "solid showing" on Pro Day.
"This was my chance to showcase my talents, and I feel like I did a pretty good job of opening some eyes and for some more teams to go and watch some game film," he said. "It's tough to get prepared for, a lot of pressure in one day. But I do feel like I perform well under pressure, and it was a much needed opportunity. I feel pretty confident in my performance."
Burgess, who said he has private workouts with the Browns and Dolphins next month, benched 225 pounds 21 times and had a 32.5-inch vertical. He noted most of his measurableswould have ranked him among the top 15 at the combine for his position.
With the draft just over a month away, Burgess said he feels like teams will start to take notice.
"I hope so," he said. "I just have to find the right one. I think it will be out there for me."