Artie Burns hasn't had an easy run of things, especially in late 2015.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' first-round draft pick suffered a terrible loss last fall, when his mother passed away tragically from a heart attack midway through his junior season at Miami. She was only 44-years old.
His father, Artie Burns Sr., is currently serving 25-year prison sentence without parole for cocaine trafficking. This left Burns with the sole responsibility of raising his two teenage brothers and his own infant son.
"[Last fall was] definitely a roller coaster," the 20-year-old Burns said Thursday night. "With my mom passing, that was definitely unexpected. That kind of motivated me more to keep on going, and that is definitely going to motivate me now to step into the league and win a Super Bowl."
Burns also said that, while the pain never subsided, he learned to live with it, one day at a time.
"It was difficult at first. The first couple of days and first couple of practices were hard," he said. "It hurt, but it's just something you have to deal with. It's something that makes you stronger."
Burns also said that, while his father has been incarcerated for a decade, the two continue to have a "good relationship". With his father in prison, Burns, who was in fourth grade at the time, was all of a sudden the male role model for his infant brothers, who are now 15 and 13 years old.
"We depended on each other," Burns said of his brothers. "It was a tough transition but also a smooth transition."
Burns led the ACC with six interceptions while earning Second Team All-ACC honors. His character certainly can't be understated, especially considering all that he has been through.
He now joins the Steelers in hopes of making an impact in the NFL.
Images Courtesy of Keystone Press