NASHVILLE – Two days before the NFL Draft, Titans tight end Delanie Walker told the story of his climb to the NFL, and he hopes it will motivate others.
His audience: High school student-athletes from the Nashville area.
Walker was among the speakers at Play Football Draft High School Day on Tuesday at Nissan Stadiium.
The program assists preparing high school student-athletes for their transition into college and beyond. Roughly 200 high school athletes were on hand for the event, hosted by the NFL and Titans.
“I want to inspire these kids, and let them know if they work hard, they can be like me,” Walker said. “It’s hard work. My road wasn’t easy. For me to get to the NFL and to be successful, it wasn’t easy, and you have to always keep fighting.
“I want to let them know what I had to endure to get to this level and share my story. It’s fun. I love the kids, and I am interested in hearing what they have to say, getting feedback. I let them ask me questions and I try and answer them the best that I can.”
NFL Legends Mark Brunell, Trent Dilfer, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jordan Palmer, Chad Pennington, Michael Robinson, and Bobby Taylor were also on hand for the event, which also hosted high school coaches.
The event consisted of a forum featuring NFL executives, current NFL players and the NFL Legends. Moderators lead breakout sessions with participants discussing important values on and off the field, the role of athletes in the community and career opportunities in the sports industry.
Fairview High School, Gallatin High School, Hunters Lane High School, Maplewood High School, Oakland High School, Overton High School, Ravenwood High School, Stratford High School and Whites Creek High School were among the Nashville-area schools who took part in the event.
Walker led two different sessions, and he stuck around to answer questions about the Titans and himself. He discussed his recovery, quarterback Marcus Mariota, his own personal achievements, and the roadblocks he’s cleared to get to where he is as he heads into his 14th NFL season.
He also stressed the importance of making good grades.
The NFL on Tuesday announced the NFL Legends Youth Advisory Committee to assist and guide efforts to preserve and grow youth and high school football through peer-to-peer engagement.
“I think some of those kids understand what I am saying,” Walker said. “They are not going to say they have bad grades or that they are not doing what they need to do in the classroom. But I think it touches them because deep down inside they may be in the same boat that I was once in.
“So if I can share that message and let them know even though I was in the same situation they might be in, I still made it because I never gave up.”
Titans tight end Delanie Walker was among the speakers at Pro Football Draft High School Day on Tuesday at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
Check out some early sights from downtown Nashville, where the 2019 NFL Draft takes place this week (April 25-27) in Music City. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk hosted an event for Titans season ticket members, then checked out the NFL Draft setup in downtown Nashville. (Photos: Gary Glenn)