Saints Surprise Paralyzed Safety Devon Walker With a Contract [VIDEO]
Devon Walker personifies courage. The former Tulane Green Wave safety was paralyzed during a game at Tulsa in 2012. Rather than leave the sport behind, Walker worked rigorously with his teammates and in the classroom.
"I didn't have to do any pregame speeches at home because he did them all," Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said. "And he policed the locker room. He policed those guys. He was around all the time."
Just because Walker could no longer play didn't mean he couldn't contribute.
Johnson served as wide receivers coach with the Saints before becoming the head coach for the Green Wave. He called GM Mickey Loomis earlier in the week for a special request. Devon's sister thought it would be cool if the Saints signed Walker to a contract, something Loomis and New Orleans head coach Sean Payton agreed with.
Devon grew up a Saints fan in nearby Destrehan and still roots for them today. Now he can say he's an official member of the Black and Gold.
On the same day he graduated from Tulane with a degree in cell and molecular biology, Walker was on his way to Drago's restaurant to eat some celebratory charbroiled oysters with his family...at least he thought that was the plan.
"I thought I was on my way to eat some oysters," Walker said. "They tricked me."
As he arrived at the Saints practice facility, Payton informed Walker he had a contract waiting.
"For me, this is one of my dreams come true," Walker said. "I've been a Saint since before I was walking. Just to be a part of the team and be around the players is more than I could have hoped for."
Payton stood next to Walker, announcing to those in attendance that he was officially a Saint.
"I'm proud to be up here with him, and I'm super proud of his recovery and the way he's handled this and the way he's approached this," said Payton. "Obviously he's been an inspiration to our region, to our community, New Orleans, the Tulane family, and it's carried over to us on the Saints."
For those that know Walker well, it was a deserving honor.
"It was a great day," said a smiling Johnson. "This kid deserves it all. He's very inspirational. I love this kid. The Saints have given him a great opportunity."