Kansas State University

Former K-Stater Morgan Burns retires from football to pursue career in ministry

K-State defensive back Morgan Burns returns kick off for 65 yards last November.
K-State defensive back Morgan Burns returns kick off for 65 yards last November. The Wichita Eagle

Morgan Burns’ professional football career ended Tuesday before it truly got started.

Burns, a former standout at Kansas State and Wichita’s Trinity Academy, has decided to retire from football and pursue a career in ministry.

An undrafted rookie, Burns was a member of the Tennessee Titans and appeared set to compete for a roster spot during preseason practices and games. But the Titans placed Burns on the reserve/retired list Tuesday, 11 days after signing him.

His agent, Brandon Smart, told the Associated Press that Burns appreciated the opportunity given to him by the Titans. Nonetheless, he prefers a future in ministry.

Burns played cornerback and returned kicks for the Wildcats. As a senior, he returned four kickoffs for touchdowns and earned Big 12 special teams player of the year honors from the league’s coaches. He was viewed as a potential draft pick after he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at K-State’s pro day, but he wasn’t selected during the NFL Draft. The Titans quickly signed him as a free agent.

“Everybody is intrigued by his speed,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said of Burns before the draft. “That is a key element for the league. He will find a place or a place will find him. I’m not sure who it is going to be yet or when it is going to take place … But he can help anybody.”

The career change doesn’t come as a complete surprise. At K-State, Burns openly shared his religious beliefs, saying his strong faith pushed him to be at his best on the football field.

K-State head coach Bill Snyder along with Kody Cook, Morgan Burns, Travis Britz and Charmeachealle Moore answer questions after their Liberty Bowl loss to Arkansas. (Jan. 2, 2016)

Morgan Burns celebrates with K-State fans Saturday after the Wildcats came back to beat West Virginia 24-23. Burns had a 97-yard kickoff return for the game-winning touchdown. (Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle)

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett