Burgess Owens is a former University of Miami and NFL star who travels the country delivering a message of optimism and hope.
He grew up in the Deep South during a time when the barriers of segregation were being torn down. As one of the first three Black Americans to play football at the University of Miami, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Chemistry and simultaneously gained recognition as a football powerhouse. He was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. As an All-America defensive back, he was selected as Most Valuable Defensive Player in the North/ South Senior Bowl and earned MVP honors in the Coaches All-American Game. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame of Outstanding College Athletes of America and later to the University of Miami’s Hall of Fame and the Orange Bowl Ring of Honor.
Burgess was the 13th player and first defensive back drafted in the first round by the New York Jets in 1973. Later that year, he was selected as the Jets Rookie of the Year and to the NFL’s All-Rookie team. He led the Jets defense in interceptions in five of seven years and was selected as the Defensive Captain for three seasons.
After being traded to the Oakland Raiders in 1980, Burgess led the Raiders defensive squad in tackles on their way to a Super Bowl Championship. In 1982, his last year with the Raiders, he led the team in interceptions and was selected as first alternate to the NFL All Pro-Bowl. He was, on two occasions, the NFL commercial spokesman for the United Way.
Burgess has for many years been an outspoken advocate for self-empowerment through entrepreneurship. Since retiring from the NFL, Burgess has been involved in many corporate and entrepreneurial endeavors. He travels throughout the country speaking of the intrinsic principles that underline the foundation of our American way of life. From a historical perspective, he speaks of the values espoused by our country’s founders through such documents as the May Flower Compact, The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The tone, passion and perspective from which Burgess speaks are both inspirational and instructional for all ages and backgrounds.
Burgess and his wife of more than 30 years, Josie, have six children and four grandchildren. Learn more at www.burgessowenstalks.com.