Titans WR coach previews Treylon Burks’ early struggles to stay on the training ground

George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

There’s been a shadow over the Tennessee Titans’ OTAs, as first-round wide receiver Treylon Burks has been on and off the practice field since first donning a helmet for rookie minicamp. It seemed to have something to do with conditioning, but was he out of shape? Did he have any allergies or something that was affecting his breathing? This is a question that every journalist wanted to know the answer to.

When Burks spoke to reporters just a week ago, he was pretty quiet on the subject. Asked about his level of conditioning, he responded by saying he “differs from time to time”. Burks had also been seen with an inhaler, but said he would keep his reasoning behind him “internally”. The rookie even told reporters to ask head coach Mike Vrabel if they wanted more details, but Vrabel declined to comment when asked.

On Tuesday, the NFL world finally got some clarity on what the former Arkansas star was going through, and it came via receivers coach Rob Moore.

“Some of the things that happened were kind of out of his control,” Moore said, via ESPN’s Turron Davenport. “The kid has asthma. These things happen. But he understands what the expectations are, but I think at the end of the day it’s really him immersing himself in the culture of how we do things. here, how we play here, which is different from every player that comes 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 be healthy and be able to show everyone here on the pitch what he’s capable of.”

Burks isn’t the first professional athlete or NFL player to deal with asthma, but the franchise’s handling of the issue has made him arguably the Titans OTA’s mainstay. Vrabel said Tuesday 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 training session, with Vrabel simply saying he was ‘unavailable’.

There’s also a lot of pressure on young Burks, as he was drafted moments after Tennessee sent AJ 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.

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