Morgan Burnett’s new look, new outlook

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
9:00
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett used the bye week for two purposes: to get a haircut and get back on the field.

By the time he returned to Green Bay on Monday, he had achieved both.

Gone were the dreadlocks the 24-year-old has sported since his sophomore year of high school. So was any noticeable problem with his hamstring, an injury that has kept him out of the first three games of the season.

He insisted there was no connection; buzzing his hair wasn’t any kind of attempt to change his fortune after missing game action for the first time since 2010.

“It’s something I felt was time,” said Burnett, who last week tweeted a picture taken shortly after his haircut.

“My mom’s been on my case for about five years ago it, so it really made her day. I did it for her.”

The Packers are approaching Burnett’s return to practice with caution. He sustained the injury in the Aug. 23 preseason game against Seattle but after sitting out the preseason finale was set to go for the opener at San Francisco. He wasn’t even listed on the injury report until two days before the 49ers game and hasn’t played since.

“Morgan Burnett hasn’t played in a long time,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Monday’s practice. “Said he feels great. Curious to see him go through a week of practice.”

Last season, Burnett not only played in every game, he was the only player on the Packers’ defense to play every snap of every game.

“Just really don’t get caught up about missing three games and feeling like you’re behind the eight ball,” Burnett said. “Just do your job, let the game come to you and don’t go chasing things and forcing things that are not there.”

Without Burnett and slot cornerback Casey Hayward, who remains sidelined because of a hamstring injury, the Packers pass defense has suffered. They ranked 28th in the league in passing yards allowed per game through Sunday’s games.

This week, they face one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL, Detroit’s Calvin Johnson.

If Burnett makes it through the week without any setbacks, it will be his first action since he signed his four-year, $24.75 million contract extension in July.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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