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Treylon Burks

Treylon Burks has had a polarizing first three months with the Tennessee Titans, to put it mildly.

Writhing through rookie minicamp and OTAs, Titans wide receivers coach Rob Moore admitted in early June that it was asthma that was holding Burks back from finishing team practices.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel admitted that the team knew about Burks’ asthma issues during the pre-draft process, and it didn’t deter them from drafting Burks No. 18 overall in April.

However, Burks’ asthma troubles certainly appeared to be news to Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman, who coached Burks the last two years at Arkansas.

“When I heard that [he was struggling with asthma], I’m going I don’t know if it’s some type of allergy; I don’t know what asthma is, but I guess it’s hard to breathe and you’re stuffed up,” Pittman said in a radio interview with 3HL on Wednesday at SEC Media Days. “But he didn’t really have that problem when he was with us.” 

Burks didn’t finish either practice during Tennessee’s two-day rookie minicamp, being pulled from the field early both days and seemingly struggling with fatigue and breathing issues.

It didn’t get better for the 22-year-old wideout during OTAs either. Clearly limited physically, Burks required trainers to ice his neck and shoulders on at least one occasion, and he used an inhaler on the sidelines during some on-field sessions.

“I’m assuming he didn’t go in [to minicamp] in great shape,” Pittman continued. “It was the same way when he was a sophomore. He wasn’t in good shape, he couldn’t last in practice — and it’s not that he quit, he just couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t know what hunting hogs does for your cardiovascular but evidently not a whole lot.”

Pittman’s remarks seem to line up with a report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, who noted some teams red-flagged Burks leading up to the draft because he “labored” through some pre-draft workouts.

Conditioning issues aside, Burks still caught 117 passes for 1,924 yards and 18 touchdowns combined over the last two seasons with the Razorbacks, ranking second over that span in yards after the catch. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound WR also led the SEC with 22 plays of 20 yards or more in 2021.

Burks told reporters during OTAs that he was confident his asthma issues wouldn’t be a problem or cause any setbacks moving forward.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_