Forget the money. Forget the opportunity for professional stardom.
Arguably the most immediate benefit Kendall Wright experienced when he concluded contract negotiations and reported to Tennessee Titans training camp on Wednesday was that he was able to get out of the heat. Seriously.
“It’s way cooler here,” he said. “It was like 107, 108 [degrees] in Waco.”
The first-round draft pick certainly was cool, calm and collected when he met the media Thursday morning following his first on-field work, which was a walk-through. The team was scheduled for a full workout in the evening, but league rules prohibited him from taking part so soon after he reported.
He was the 31st of the 32 first-round selections around the league to sign.
“I’ve been waiting for a while but it’s something I couldn’t control,” he said. “I was just letting it happen and going with it and keep working out.”
The wide receiver spent the time back at Baylor University, where he holds virtually all the major pass catching records, and trained — in the extreme conditions — with his former college teammates.
Neither he nor the Titans anticipate any problems in his ability to catch up on what he missed through the first five days of camp. He said he is confident that he retained what he learned during offseason workouts and has worked quickly to digest recent additions.
“When he was in here he did a nice job for us during the [organized team activities],” quarterback Matt Hasslebeck said. “We’re counting on him to make some plays for us this year. So it’s good to have him here.”
Wright is just the fourth wide receiver drafted in the first round in the history of the franchise.
The third was Kenny Britt, the 30th overall selection in 2009. Britt has been unable to participate in camp thus far because of a recent knee surgery. He also faces a likely regular-season suspension under the league’s personal conduct following an arrest last month.
Despite all of that the 5-foot-10, 196-pounder repeatedly downplayed any perceived expectations that accompany either his draft position or the current state of affairs with the franchise’s wide receivers.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of pressure on me,” he said. “Some might. Some might not. I’m just out here learning and doing what I have to do to get ready for the season.
“… I’m doing what they are asking me to do. That is to come play receiver and to help the team win.”
The fact that he can do so in such relatively benign weather conditions only figures to make things easier.
“I’d do half of my conditioning inside and half outside,” he said. “It was like an oven. It was just real hot [down] there.”