NASHVILLE – Titans tight end Delanie Walker suffered a season-ending injury in the team’s season opener last season, so you won’t find him complaining about training camp.
When players report on Thursday – the team’s first practice is on Friday – Walker will be ready to go.
“That’s the grown version of back to school – training camp,” Walker said on Wednesday night from his fifth annual ‘Back to School Blitz’, where he handed out backpacks and school supplies to kids. “I am excited to be back – I missed the whole year, and I missed a lot of football. I have been back (rehabbing and working), so I am excited to see all the other guys so we can hit the ground running.
“I had a lot of doubters, but if I tell you one thing, I am telling you the truth: I knew I was (going to be ready) when the time came, and everyone else couldn’t believe it.”
The good news is Walker feels good.
After being limited this offseason with the ankle injury, Walker was not put on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform list earlier this week. He expects to practice when camp begins.
Walker worked in OTAs, but he was held out of the minicamp in June.
“I feel great,” Walker said. “The type of injury I had, I still have to be smart. But I feel great. I am out there running, and I did the conditioning test – no problems there. I feel good. You are still going to have some swelling and some soreness but that is part of it. As a football player, you are never 100 percent. … I am glad I am able to be back on the field and play with the guys.”
Walker, a three-time Pro Bowler, visited Napier Elementary School in Nashville on Wednesday night, an annual event through his Delanie Walker Gives Back Foundation.
Through the Delanie Walker Gives Back Foundation, Walker aims to provide inner city and low-income children “with the educational opportunities and resources to reach their full potential and beat the odds.” The major community outreach programs of Delanie Walker Gives Back include Back to School COOL, Delanie’s Imagination Stations, and College Bound.
Walker handed out 200 backpacks and school supplies on Wednesday, and talked to the kids about listening to their parents, and working hard in school.
“You see the smiles on their faces, and that’s all I care about,” Walker said. “I tell these kids to take school seriously. Some of them always tell me they play sports, but I always tell them to get their education first because sports doesn’t last that long, but an education goes a long way.”
Titans Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker hosted his annual "Back to School Blitz" by giving away backpacks to students at Napier Elementary Wednesday in Nashville. (Photos: Gary Glenn)