ORLANDO, Fla. – First, Delanie Walker was swarmed by AFC teammates, many of them Titans.
Later, he was swarmed by family and friends.
It was all part of a memorable night for the Titans tight end, who was named Offensive MVP of the 2018 Pro Bowl after making the game-winning touchdown catch in the closing moments of the AFC’s 24-23 win over the NFC here at Camping World Stadium.
“It’s special,” a smiling Walker said on the field after the game. “It feels good to have all these people here who care about me, and support me. And it always feels good to represent the Titans organization. To get this done and honor the Titans, I’m very happy.”
Walker caught the game-winning touchdown – an 18-yard scoring toss from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr – with just 1:31 remaining in the contest. It was his second touchdown of the night.
As a result, the AFC players walked away with $64,000 -- $32,000 more than players on the NFC squad.
Walker, along with Defensive MVP Von Miller, also won a car.
“To come back and win this game, it’s nice,” Walker said. “To get a free car, you can’t complain about that either.”
Walker’s teammates with the Titans were a part of the mob scene on the field. Six Titans made it to this year’s Pro Bowl. The AFC rallied from a 20-3 deficit to win it.
“I was so excited,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “I ran all the way from the sideline to congratulate him on his game-winning touchdown. He got me that bonus, so I am always thankful.”
“Delanie is so deserving,” added Titans tackle Taylor Lewan. “He’s a hell of a player. That was sweet. He deserved it. For him to be an alternate and be MVP, it says a lot about him as a player.”
In the stands, there was another wild celebration.
More than 20 family and friends were on hand to support Walker, playing in his third Pro Bowl.
Earlier in the game, Walker caught a four-yard touchdown pass thrown by Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Walker finished the game with four catches for 29 yards, with the two scores.
The game-winner provided some fireworks in the stands at Camping World Stadium.
“It got loud, and turnt up. It was chaos up there,” said Stanley Williams, Walker’s cousin.
Williams lost his mom and dad when they were killed by a drunk driver after watching Walker play in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans when he was a member of the 49ers. He said Walker has been a great representative of the family. Walker has been very involved with MADD since the loss of his aunt and uncle.
“It’s a good time for all of us, a special time for our family,” Williams said. “I love him. We all do.”
Paul Brown, Walker’s best friend from Los Angeles, rushed onto the field after the game wearing Walker’s No.82 Titans jersey. A large group of friends and family members posed for pictures on the field in the rain after the contest.
“I’m his No.1 fan - known him for 20 years,” said Brown, who played football with Walker in junior college. “This is the only male jersey I’d wear.
“It is always good to see my best friend setting records and doing great in life. We’ve been together a long time. I go to almost every Titans game, from Nashville to California to Kansas City to Foxboro. It’s a blessing. It means a lot to him. It means a lot to all of us. This is great.”
Walker, who made this year’s game as an alternate, after replacing Kansas City's Travis Kelce, has now scored four touchdowns in his three Pro Bowl appearances.
It’s safe to say this year’s game will go down as his most memorable, judging from the MVP trophy, the car, and the hugs and smiles he shared with family and friends.
“It feels good,” Walker said. “All the guys kept coming up to me saying: You got me a $32,000 check. But we all did this, I just happened to catch the pass at the end. But it’s special.”
Check out Titans players competing at the 2018 Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla. (Photos: AP, Jim Wyatt)