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Burks Attempts to Shed Health Concerns with Strong First Day of Titans Camp

Diving catch after beating defensive back eases initial worries about former Hog
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NASHVILLE – For former Arkansas Razorback wide receiver Treylon Burks, the real question hasn't been what he can do on an NFL field for the Titans. 

It's been whether he can get on the field. 

On Wednesday morning, after two months of riding a medical roller coaster, the Titans first round draft pick provided an answer.

Burks successfully passed the required conditioning test on Wednesday and says he has shed just shy of seven pounds in preparation.

"I feel a lot different, and I eel a lot healthier," Burks told team reporters. "It just makes me feel good that I can come out here and play a role and be part of this team."

It didn't take long for Burks to gain the spotlight. On the second play of camp in a 7-on-7 situation, he blew past defensive back Kristian Fulton and came down with a diving catch of a Ryan Tannehill pass. 

The team media staff had a bit of fun with the moment, posting the catch on Twitter along with three emojis breathing heavily.

However, it's unclear whether the PR guys were ribbing Burks or the coaches and team administrators. 

Seeing their first round draft pick risk injury just minutes into camp may have caused the staff to lose their own breaths for a moment, but considering where things were back in early June, it's a welcome sign for the Titans.

For Tannehill, the opportunities to build trust and chemistry with Burks have been few and far between. However, Burks definitely caught his attention right away with the catch.

"He's got a long way to go, but making plays like that does a lot for building confidence for a quarterback, for myself," Tannehill said. "If he wins consistently and makes plays like that for me down the field, that gives you a lot of confidence to go his direction."

Changes in environment can be tough on the body. Moving to a new state sometimes comes with severe allergic reactions as the body adjusts to new plants and pollens.

For Burks, the change in locale led to a dramatic uptick in how debilitating his battle with asthma can be. Things got so bad when he first arrived that his work during rookie workouts, OTAs and mini camps that he found himself limited to essentially studying the playbook and being quizzed by team officials whenever they saw him.

After a summer trying to find a resolution to his health issues, things appear to be on the right track. Yet, it's come at a mental cost for Burks and required accelerated growth in the area of self-discipline.

"[I've been] putting myself in situations where I knew my asthma would flare up and just be able to push through it," Burks said in a story released by the Titans. "Honestly, I just keep conditioning where I don't feel it no more – making sure I am taking my inhaler before practice, after practice – just staying on top of everything."

It was a process that got scary at times.

"I was concerned at one point just because I couldn't even go," Burks said. "It was getting to me then. [Titans head coach Mike Vrabel] came and talked to me and told me don't worry about it – just keep attacking it." 

Those talks and further support from his coach went a long way toward being able to make that catch on Wednesday.

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"He was just telling me to take it one day at a time," Burks said. "Everything is going to take care of itself. Don't harp on myself too much because it happens to the best people. Attack it day by day."

Razorback fans will get their first chance to see Burks in NFL action on Aug. 11 when the Titans face Baltimore at 6:30 p.m. in the preseason opener.

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Arkansas Divider

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