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'I'm Built Different': Tracy Walker Will Be Ready by Training Camp

The veteran safety said he plans to be fully cleared by training camp.

Seven months after suffering a torn Achilles, Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker III has plans to return to action in the near future. 

His injury was a serious one. It occurred in Week 3, and held him out for the remainder of the 2022 season. However, he has plans to be fully cleared for action by the start of training camp.

Being able to actively participate in workouts seven months after his procedure is no small feat. The five-year veteran has attacked his rehab process. 

"I'm built different," Walker said. "I stand on that. I know I'm not built like nobody else. I live by it in everything I do, from how I work, how I grind and obviously, my injuries. I've never been hurt before, so for me to bounce back, that was the main thing I had on my mind." 

It's the second time this offseason he's made a promise about his recovery. Earlier, he stated that he would be able to participate in Organized Team Activities. He accomplished that, and plans to make good on his word once again later in the offseason. 

"I'm a man of my word. And, I still I stood on what I said. I said I was gonna come back, and I was gonna be able to participate in OTAs, which I'm doing," Walker said. "If it was up to me, I'll be running around around right now. But, it's not up to me. So, honestly, I'm just trying to stay focused and continue to just strive to be the best I can be. Like I said, I'm seven months post-op, and I feel great. I'm running around cutting and doing everything I need to be. It's just, it's not my time yet. So, I 'gotta' wait." 

The fifth-year pro has attacked his rehab process. He's posted videos of his progress, and reporters caught a glimpse of where he's at during the open portion of Thursday's practice. 

There, he participated in individual drills. While he was held out of team drills, the veteran was an active participant in positional work. 

New-look secondary

In Walker's absence, the Lions were among the league's worst secondaries. Rookie Kerby Joseph stepped up with a team-high four interceptions, but the unit struggled as a whole.

Detroit revamped the position group during the offseason, adding veterans at both the cornerback and safety positions. In years past, Walker has been a veteran presence amongst a youthful defensive backfield.

Now, he's joined by several experienced players, such as C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley. 

This allows for a collaborative experience. The veteran noted that all members of the secondary, ranging from the rookies to vets like himself, will be tasked with leading.

"It definitely helps with that experience. But, at the same time, I'm still leading, you know, I feel like that's my room. So, that's how I look at it," Walker explained. "They're gonna come in and they're gonna, obviously, they're leaders as well. We're all leaders in our own way. But, you know, like I said, I just look at it as I got more ballers around me. And, that's how I approach it. You know, I don't see it from that. Everybody's a leader, from the rookies to the vets."

With the improvements, a high bar has been set for the Lions. The group is expected to be much improved, and Walker hopes these expectations come to fruition.

"We got a lot of great pieces that we added from the rookies to vets. So, honestly, man, it's a great addition for us. Obviously, we had one of the worst secondaries in the league last year. So, that's something we've got to change, and I'm just happy that we've made progress to make those motions happen," Walker expressed. "So, honestly, we're just out here grinding, being the best we can be, building on that brotherhood, off the field, on the field. It's a great thing to be a part of. So, I'm excited for what we're gonna do this year. But, like I said, we're gonna make a lot of noise this year."

Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker

Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker

Building momentum

Detroit is set to open the season against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, and in front of a national audience. 

This matchup, and its timing, is emblematic of how the Lions are viewed around the league. Expectations are as high as ever for the franchise. 

The veteran isn't taking the situation lightly. He watched as the team learned to win last season, and wants to help the squad build on its good fortunes from late in the year. 

"Well, honestly, it's very difficult, because for one, we're coming in against the Super Bowl champs. They're nobody you can take lightly," the safety said. "But, at the same time, we just got to continue to build on the foundation we've already established so far. We were a scary team to play last year at the end of the year. We're building up that momentum right now, we're definitely not slowing down and we're not taking those steps back. That's just the main thing, just keep going. We understand how to win now, so we got to keep doing it."