Playing in the National Football League is considered a privilege and for most, a childhood dream come true. Entering the NFL draft is a moment unlike any other, players wait and hope and listen for their names to be called. However for some, the only sound that is heard is silence. Their cell phones never rang, their names were never announced. The players then had to ask themselves, “What happens now?”….
Chargers Tight End Dallas Walker was one of these players. Walker played his college ball at Western Michigan and graduated in 2011. Waiting patiently last April, he watched as 253 draft picks came and went and a huge group of undrafted free agent rookies passed him by. Most players wouldn’t know how to react to something like that, but Walker was not like most players. Private workouts, pro-days, combines and interviews, you name it, Walker did whatever he could to latch on to an NFL team. At this years Super Regional Combine, Walker’s dream finally came to fruition in the form of a 3 year contract with the San Diego Chargers.
Not only was Walkers journey to the NFL long, but one of many changes of position. At 6’6, 235 lbs, Walker was truly a jack of all trades in college, he began as a quarterback, then shifted to a running back and culminated with the move to tight end. “Out of Junior College I was recruited for all three positions but at that time, the best opportunity I felt was with Western Michigan at TE. I had to put on more weight since my freshman year at college and I felt like it was a position that fit me well and that I would enjoy playing.”
In 2012, the Chargers entered training camp loaded with 6 tight ends on the roster. This year they will enter camp with 5. With veterans Antonio Gates, John Phillips and Ladarius Green ahead of him, Walker has a big challenge that awaits this August in order for him to crack the 53 man roster. ”I feel that my best attribute is being able to be versatile. I strive to be productive wherever the coaches feel that they could use me and just be ready to contribute regardless what is asked of me.”
It’s no question that it was Walkers effort and perseverance that got him on to an NFL team, but now that he is on the Chargers roster, he is doing anything but taking a breather. Obviously being thrust into a situation where number 85 is at the top of the TE depth chart, it’s almost impossible not to learn a few things.“Being around and playing with Gates is a privilege. Not many rookies can say they get to come In and play/learn from that caliber of a player. He’s almost like a second coach out there helping us out whenever we need it.”
With the Chargers entering camp in a few weeks, Walker knows without a doubt he is facing a uphill battle. He will have make quite an impression to convince the coaches to use one of the final 53 roster spots on him. ”I want to be a player that can be counted on to make plays whenever my number is called and to be some one that my teammates can depend on. I’m just focusing on improving and getting better each day and striving to be the best I can possibly be.”
Walker is a prime example of where determination and having a “never give up” attitude can get a person in life. Walker knew this is what he was born to do and he was not going to let anyone or anything get in his way from realizing his goal. His road to the NFL and his perspective on life is a true testament to the phrase: “Dreams come true.”
How bout it Bolt Fans, what do you think of Dallas Walker?
By Jake Hefner