Say what you will about Glen Mason and his tenure in charge of the Jayhawks. He had some spectacular years, engineered one of the greatest resurrections in recent college football history, and he won a few bowl games. He also flirted with other programs consistently, even taking two jobs while still leading the Jayhawks. All of those things are well documented. What often goes unstated in the praise that Mason wholeheartedly deserves is that he produced some of the hardest hitting, toughest players in KU history. Gilbert Brown, Dana Stubblefield, Kwamie Lassiter, and Clint Bowen come to mind immediately. Gerald McBurrows is a classic case of a great player who many KU fans have forgotten.
The hard-hitting safety from Detroit started his Jayhawk career in the fall of 1991 and helped the Jayhawks to the 1992 Aloha Bowl title. McBurrows tallied three interceptions over the course of his Kansas career and shared a secondary with Lassiter and Tony Blevins, forming one of the most threatening secondaries in the history of Kansas football.
Despite having a statistically inferior season to Lassiter, McBurrows was drafted into the NFL in the seventh round of the 1995 draft by the St. Louis Rams. McBurrows played for the Rams for four seasons, playing in 48 of 64 possible games and starting 13. He recorded one interception and one sack in his time in St. Louis. He made 97 solo tackles and recovered one fumble. For a seventh round pick, Gerald McBurrows more than compensated the Rams. He left St. Louis as a free agent prior to their Super Bowl season of 1999.
McBurrows landed with the Atlanta Falcons and became a much more prominent figure there than in St. Louis. He played almost every game for five years with the Falcons and became a starter in the 2001 and 2002 seasons. In his time in Atlanta, he grabbed four interceptions, recorded 318 total tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered five more, and registered 3.5 sacks. He also played a significant amount of time in the special teams unit for the Falcons.
In 2002, McBurrows was the highest paid Jayhawk in the NFL, above the other players mentioned in this article. McBurrows retired from football after the 2003 season, after nine successful seasons playing at the highest level. He was a guy that seemingly always had more accomplished athletes around him, but he was always a guy that won a spot on the roster and forced his way onto the field.