NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Fred said it.
A simple and heartfelt tip of the cap to the New Orleans Saints organization for what they did over this past weekend. They signed former Tulane defensive back Devon Walker to a contract in one of the more meaningful signings in franchise history.
Walker is a game-changer who probably has displayed as much if not more courage than any football player I can think of. He inspired his teammates and coaches at Tulane, and the Green Wave's opponents as well. He has lifted the spirits of others in his position outside of the game. All of that while being confined to a wheelchair.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Walker was paralyzed from the neck down in an on-field collision with a teammate in a game at Tulsa early in 2012. The injury was to his spinal cord. He was hospitalized for months. From football player and finely tuned athlete to a person who cannot physically care for himself - in an instant. Tulane Head Coach Curtis Johnson and the Green Wave family have been behind this young man and his family through it all. Johnson, by the way, is the former receivers coach with the Saints. There have been fund raisers to help construct facilities at Walker's home to help make his life easier. He's gotten the best of care. And, he's worked without ceasing to improve every aspect of his life.
On Saturday, Walker graduated from Tulane with a bachelor's degree in cell and molecular biology. His plan is to continue his extensive rehabilitation work over the summer, and then climb right back into the books en route to the next mile marker: his master's degree. I would be shocked if we are not talking about "Dr. Devon Walker" someday, working up ways to help people with similar injuries. I pray, and I'm not alone, that he'll be delivering that help while standing on his own two feet.
The contract with the Saints was only for one day, but the gesture will provide Devon Walker with a lifetime of warm memories from this wonderful weekend. Good job, Saints.