Miami DB Artie Burns going pro, skipping senior season

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Artie Burns has a son to support, and also now is the caretaker for his two younger siblings after the unexpected death of his mother earlier this season.

And with that, the Miami defensive back realized it was time to go pro.

Burns is skipping what would have been his senior season with the Hurricanes and entering the NFL draft, a decision that was long expected and became final on Monday. He had a breakout year with six interceptions, the most recorded by any Miami player since Sean Taylor had 10 in 2003.

''Due to my mom's sudden passing and my father being incarcerated, I now have custody of my two younger brothers and my son to raise,'' Burns said in a statement distributed through the school. ''It is my responsibility to be the financial supporter my family needs to continue our day to day lives.''

Burns said the decision was ''extremely difficult'' to make.

He thanked former Miami coach Al Golden in his statement, along with new Miami coach Mark Richt, the university community, the Hurricanes' coaching staff, his teammates and fans.

Burns also said he plans to return to Miami to finish his degree. Miami has a longstanding policy of allowing people who were on athletic scholarships and elect to leave early for professional reasons return and complete their studies.

''I can't put into words what these past three years have meant to me in my development as a football player, but even more importantly as a man,'' Burns said. ''It is only right to acknowledge that fact and I thank you all.''