It was quite a journey for Dialleo Burks.
After a successful collegiate career at Eastern Kentucky, Burks had a decision to make.
Did he want to continue playing football, or was he ready to leave his playing days behind him?
Burks decided he wanted to keep playing the game that had been such a huge part of his life, so he set out to make it as a pro.
And make it he did.
From 1996 through 2007, Burks played professional football on just about every level, from the NFL, to NFL Europe, to the XFL, and finally to the Arena Football League.
When he hung up his cleats, he had caught more than 400 passes, including more than 100 touchdowns, and had been a part of some tremendous teams, including an NFL Europe team that won a championship.
Burks believes the decade he spent playing professional football will help him as the head football coach at LaGrange High.
“From playing in the NFL, the Arena League, XFL, NFL Europe, those experiences, they’re indescribable,” Burks said. “They’re great heights, great accomplishments. And I’m going to use all of those experiences to advance our program.”
After helping LaGrange High win a state championship as a senior in 1991, Burks had nearly 100 catches during his four years at Eastern Kentucky.
Then it was time for the professional journey to begin.
He wasn’t drafted in 1996, but he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a non-drafted free agent that year.
After spending one season with the Eagles, Burks was out of football for a year before heading to NFL Europe to play for the Rhein Fire.
In 1999, Burks was the team’s leading receiver, and he had two touchdown catches in the World Bowl, NFL Europe’s version of the Super Bowl.
In the fall of 1999, Burks played for the Carolina Panthers, and he was also with the team in 2000.
He didn’t have any catches with the Panthers, but he did return one kickoff for 25 yards in 2000.
After playing for the Orlando Rage in 2001 in the short-lived XFL, Burks was signed by a pair of NFL teams, but he was cut both times.
In 2002, Burks found his home in the Arena Football League.
He played for Dallas in 2002 and 2003, and he played for Atlanta in 2004 and 2005, and he also spent time with the Grand Rapids (Mich.) team in 2005.
Burks returned to Dallas in 2006, and that’s where he spent the final two years of his playing career.
When he retired following the 2007 season, Burks was among the Dallas franchise leaders in a number of receiving categories.
In all, during his six years in the Arena Football League, Burks had 389 catches with 107 touchdowns.
His best year was in 2003 when he had 102 catches and 28 touchdowns with Dallas, and he had 92 catches and 29 touchdowns in 2006.