Delanie Walker says he is good to go.
He just doesn’t want to go. Not yet, at least.
“I try to work out every day. I’m eating healthy. I’m literally staying in shape,” the former Tennessee Titans tight end said Wednesday on The Pat McAfee Show. “If I had to, if I wanted to, I could probably go sign with a team right now and compete. But at the end of the day, I’m just trying to let my body heal.”
Walker has not played a down in the NFL or even spent a day of practice with a team since the Titans released him in March because of a failed physical. A serious ankle injury in 2018 combined with a knee issue in 2019 limited him to eight games played over his final two seasons with Tennessee.
He is convinced, though, that those were not his final games in the NFL.
“I looked at this as a good year to let my body heal, try to get healthy and then come back next year and go from there,” Walker said. “… Everybody’s like, ‘Where have you been? Why are you not trying out with no teams?’ I’ve been telling teams I’m chilling. I’m taking this time off, letting my body heal.”
The three-time Pro Bowler conceded that the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the offseason factored into his approach to this year. Walker still feels good about that decision, especially after he watched as Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant was pulled off the field during warmups prior to Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys because of a positive test.
“This COVID. I didn’t know what was going to happen with the protocol and the NFL,” Walker said. “… Especially with what happened to Dez Bryant on (Tuesday) night. I’m not trying to go through all of that. So, I’ll wait until next year.”
In the meantime, he said, the 36-year-old works out daily in his fully equipped home gym, complete with a sauna and cold tub.
Walker is the Titans’ all-time leader in receptions by a tight end with 381 (for 4,423 yards and 28 touchdowns). A veteran of 183 games with Tennessee and San Francisco, he made the Pro Bowl in three straight seasons (2015-17) and his 504 career receptions make him one of 31 active players with at least 500.
“(Teams) know what I can do,” Walker said. “I’ll come back next year strong, faster and healthier. So, that’s the plan.”