After spending his first seven seasons in San Francisco with the 49ers, Delanie Walker spent seven more playing his way into the hearts of Tennessee Titans fans. Truthfully, Walker gave supporters of the two-tone blue blood, sweat, tears, and much to be excited about when, in all honesty, there weren’t that many reasons to get excited about anything.
Walker appeared in 86 games over those seven seasons, starting 62 and grinding his way to 132 receptions, 1,588 receiving yards, and 28 touchdowns (those numbers include what he did in the playoffs). Unfortunately, here’s the thing. Walker’s first postseason appearance with Tennessee didn’t materialize until 2019, and it’s for that reason, that the veteran free agent believes his legacy might not be what he’d like it to be.
Perhaps it’s the former Tennessee Titans star that’s done the damage here?
Some of you may have heard this already, but Walker recently made an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and in a recent interview on the Family & Other F Words podcast, he lamented that he believes playing on some bad teams in Tennessee might have hurt his legacy some and his chances at earning a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Here’s the link to the audio and a quote:
"I want to win a Super Bowl, honestly… I feel like that helps you in your status as you retire in this game, and it’s sad that that’s something that you gotta have to be recognized sometimes…Me being in Tennessee, I hate to say this, that hurts my value in any type of awards or accolades because I did play in Tennessee, and you can look at some of the greats like Eddie George, Steve McNair, and them guys just not getting them coats yet. It’s because they didn’t win a Super Bowl and they played in Tennessee… I look at it (like this) if I can win a Super Bowl, maybe that’ll help me."
Okay, here’s the thing. While most of us can understand where Walker is coming from (Eddie George and Steve McNair deserve their spots), winning a Super Bowl alone does not a Hall-of-Famer make.
Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson both have Super Bowl wins. They won’t be there. Calvin Johnson never won a playoff game, and it took Tony Gonzalez most of his career to win a postseason game. They were both unquestioned first-ballot guys. Walker probably should have thought this one through a little more. Not only is he off-base. He may have damaged some of his standing with the city of Tennessee and the Titans organization.
Here’s more of his statement.
"Well you say Julio, but he played in Atlanta. Look at Atlanta and their fan base. Look at the type of players that played in Atlanta and look where they’re at. When you play in an organization like Nashville, it’s because it’s so small, our fan base is not as great as some of these organizations… Players that played great at those organizations, they get them accolades, but when you play in Tennessee, you don’t get primetime games, you don’t get a lot of people seeing your games, so you don’t get mentioned a lot. So, sometimes you don’t get brought up in these conversations, but when you have a Super Bowl ring, they bring you up in these conversations."
Ummm, no… Walker’s comments on Julio Jones come from the fact that one of the newer Titans stars carved a resume that is Canton-worthy in Atlanta with the Falcons, and while we all love Atlanta, let’s be honest. It’s never been seen as one of our country’s great sports cities.
While there are true fans there of all of their professional sports franchises, the vibe in Atlanta is often people show up when things go right, and they find other things to do when their teams struggle. Have you been to Atlanta? It isn’t like there’s nothing to do there.
As mentioned earlier, it was Walker’s grind that made him a fan favorite with the Tennessee Titans. It will be his grind that also makes him a Hall-of-Famer if voters deem him worthy. We can go on all day about great players that don’t have Super Bowl rings but have busts in Canton (dan Marino, Warren Moon, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, LaDainian Tomlinson).
Walker may have needed to think this one out a little more, and while he may have rubbed some Tennesseans and fans of this organization the wrong way, Tennessee Titans fans are forgiving. They should move past this one at some point.