Burks ready for NFL challenge

Published 12:15 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Daily News

He’s ready for the next challenge.

When the 2017 season ended, Dialleo Burks’ time as LaGrange High’s head football coach came to a close.

It was a tough time for Burks, who oversaw a team that struggled through a winless season, putting a difficult end to his four-year tenure as LaGrange’s head coach.

Burks hasn’t spent his life looking backward, though.

So when his time at LaGrange ended, he didn’t dwell on what went wrong, rather he began thinking about what he was going to do next.

Burks is passionate about being coach, so he knew that’s

what he wanted to do.

The question was where would he coach, and on what level.

Burks got the answer to that question last week when he found out he was going to get a shot to coach in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans.

Through the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship program, Burks has in essence secured what will be an internship with the Titans.

During preseason camp, Burks will be working as an assistant coach with the Titans, and he’ll have a chance to earn a full-time position with the team.

“I’ll be with them for camp,” Burks said. “It’ll be an on-the-field interview. That’s basically what it is. I’ll be with them for the preseason. And we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Burks, who was a part of the LaGrange team that won a national championship in 1991, returned to his old school as the head coach for the 2014 season after Donnie Branch stepped down.

The Grangers made the playoffs in Burks’ first season, but they were unable to build on that momentum.

The 2017 season was a particularly tough one, leading to Burks’ departure, and it was a painful blow for a man who has such a special place in his heart for his alma mater.

The way Burks sees it, though, it’s all a part of the journey, and he’s eager for this next step.

“It’ll be a valuable experience whether it’s one day, one week, or one year,” Burks said. “You’ve got an in. You’ve got an opportunity. You get to see what it’s like.”

This won’t be Burks’ first foray into the NFL. Burks, after a standout collegiate career at Eastern Kentucky, embarked on a professional career that included a stint in the NFL.

Burks also played in the NFL Europe and the XFL, and he was one of the top receivers in the Arena Football League for years.

When his playing days ended, Burks decided to go the coaching route, and he was a member of the Georgia Force staff in the Arena Football League.

Following stops at Hopewell High in Charlotte, N.C. and Berkmar High, Burks was a part of the first-ever coaching staff at LaGrange College.

Burks was a member of the staff in 2008 when LaGrange College went 9-2 and reached the NCAA Division III playoffs.

Burks coached at Troup High for one season before joining the LaGrange High staff in 2010, and he remained there until 2013 when he became the head coach at Lafayette High in Alabama.

Burks then returned home to take over his beloved LaGrange High program, and while the win-loss record wasn’t what he hoped it would be, he’s still proud of what he accomplished.

“I was on assignment here,” Burks said a few days after his tenure at LaGrange ended. “It was divine for me to come here. And I’ve seen when it’s all about football, and that was something I couldn’t do. I couldn’t walk in this door and just walk out. I wanted to dig deep with these guys, and see what made them tick. A lot of them, I pushed some buttons. When they get to be an adult male, they’ll understand. Hopefully those qualities will come out and they’ll make good decisions.”

Burks added that “those guys, they don’t understand what’s inside of them. They have some strong forces inside of them for what they’ve overcome, and they’re still standing. I’m just glad that I had the opportunity to be here to instill that in them, and bring it out of them.”

Now it’s on to the NFL for Burks.

When he began exploring his options through the Bill Walsh program, the Titans weren’t one of the teams he was in contact with.

That changed when Burks had an encounter with Wesley Woodyard, a LaGrange High graduate who is a linebacker with the Titans.

“A lot of coaches have participated in it. So I applied, and had five teams down, and Tennessee wasn’t one of them,” Burks said. “I remember seeing Wesley at the amphitheater a couple of weeks ago, and he asked me what I was doing. I told him about this, and he said I’ll see what I can do. The next thing you know, I’m getting a call from the Tennessee Titans, asking me to send my resume. So they just came out of the wind, and now we’ll see.”

Burks, considering his background, will not surprisingly be working with the wide receivers, and he’ll also help with special teams.

“It’ll be nothing but football,” Burks said. “I get to focus on that craft, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be learning a lot, and hopefully bringing value to the organization.”

Burks added that “it’s all in line with what God wants to do. I can’t wait. I’m excited. I told them the light will not go off in the office.”