There’s been a shadow hanging over the Tennessee Titans‘ OTAs, as first-round pick wide receiver Treylon Burks has been on and off the practice field ever since he first put on a helmet for rookie minicamp. It appeared to have something to do with conditioning, but was it that he was out of shape? Did he have allergies, or something that affected his breathing? It’s a question every reporter wanted to know the answer to.
When Burks spoke with reporters just a week ago, he was rather mum on the subject. When asked about his conditioning level, he responded saying it “differs every now and then.” Burks had also been seen with an inhaler, but said he would keep his reasoning behind it “in house.” The rookie even told reporters to ask head coach Mike Vrabel if they wanted more details, but Vrabel declined comment when asked.
Tuesday, the NFL world finally got some clarity as to what the former Arkansas star was going through, and it came via wide receivers coach Rob Moore.
“Some of those things that happened were kind of out of his control,” Moore said, via ESPN’s Turron Davenport. “The kid’s got asthma. Those things happen. But he understands what the expectations are, but I think at the end of the day, it’s really him getting himself immersed in the culture of how we do things here, how we play here, which is different from every player that comes in here from college because we ask these guys to do things that a lot of teams don’t ask them to do.
“I’m excited about Treylon and what he’s going to be able to bring to this football team. He just has to get himself healthy and be able to show everybody out here on the field what he’s capable of.”
Burks is hardly the first professional athlete or NFL player for that matter to deal with asthma, but the way this issue has been handled by the franchise turned this into arguably the top headline of Titans OTAs. Vrabel said Tuesday that the Titans were aware of his asthma before the draft. It’s something that will continue to be discussed, as Burks also missed Tuesday’s practice session, with Vrabel simply saying that he was “unavailable.”
There’s also plenty of pressure on the young Burks, as he was drafted moments after Tennessee shipped A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Titans want to repeat as the No. 1 seed in the AFC or AFC South champions, Burks will have to be an immediate contributor.