The Oakland Raiders first day of “Organized Team Activities” are of course voluntary, but when the only absence is one player it is bound to become a story. Especially when that player could potentially be unhappy with his current situation, which is exactly the case at Oakland OTA’s as Kevin Burnett remained absent on Wednesday as the only player who was signed by the Raiders this offseason who isn’t in attendance at the voluntary sessions.
Burnett’s status with the Raiders is set to change as fifth overall selection Khalil Mack as well as second year linebacker Sio Moore are going to be commanding snaps at outside linebacker, something that is likely going to affect the veteran’s role by the way of playing time. While there is no knowledge of Burnett’s reasoning for not being at OTA’s head coach Dennis Allen has told the media he is in communication with his one absentee and that he is not concerned at this point in time.
Dennis Allen’s response to the media during his presser after the first OTA sessions as to why Burnett was not in attendance was “Because it’s voluntary.”
Allen said Burnett was healthy and “He’s just not here.”
“I’ve had communication with Kevin this whole time,” Allen continued. “This is a voluntary camp. Players can make their own decisions and they have families and things in their personal lives that they have to make sure they take care of. I’m not concerned about that at all.
Burnett’s agent, speaking to Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area, has said that Burnett is continuing to prepare for the season even if he is not with the team. (Wednesday’s sessions were unavailable to the media.)
Kevin Burnett’s agent, Ricky Lefft, declined comment on why his client was absent.
“He’s working out from home,” Lefft said Wednesday.
Regardless of the situation it would be wise for Burnett to get to the Raiders facility to join his team sooner rather than later, especially if he is sticking with the team in 2014 and wants as much playing time as possible. “No showing” when there are no other absences is just drawing more attention to the storyline involving Burnett and his role next season, if the linebacker joined his teammates this story would likely die down. The longer Burnett keeps to himself, the more likely this is going to turn into an issue and a true concern for the team.