He even told his teammates and his coaches.
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But just before it became time to declare for the draft, something didn't feel quite right.
Maybe it was his teammates who kept phoning him and telling him they needed him, and that if he returned to UCF this defense might be one of the best in the country.
"Something in my gut told me to come back," Burnett said.
He looks around at all his friends and teammates chattering to reporters about the upcoming season.
And he smiles.
So much has happened in the last few months to this team and these players.
They won a championship; they lost a friend.
Time to turn the page.
"I think everybody is looking forward," Burnett said. "It feels good to be here today just talking about football."
There is nothing better.
Mike Bianchi's Open Mike blog can be read at OrlandoSentinel.com/openmike, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.