A personal tragedy derailed Ken Walton’s football career.
But the former Lebanon High School defensive back is back on track and is preparing to play for pay this spring.
Walton has signed to play professionally for the Nashville Venom’s indoor football team, whose season will begin on the road March 22, two weeks before the April 5 home opener in Municipal Auditorium.
Walton, who graduated from LHS in ’07, signed with Cumberland but never played for the Bulldogs after sustaining an injury. He did play junior-college football for Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Miss.
But the death of his father, Kenny, in 2011 following a stroke derailed Ken’s desire to play. Kenny Walton played basketball for Cumberland in the ‘80s for coach Woody Hunt when the school returned to four-year status.
“After that, I just didn’t want to play again,” Walton said. “I always knew I had it in me to play. I never wanted to give it up. I had friends say, ‘Are you still playing ball?’”
Walton hooked up with a semipro team whose coach, Cromwell Stewart, is now an assistant with the Vipers. He urged Walton to try out. Out of 108 prospective players, Walton, now 25, was one of four who signed with the team.
Nashville will begin its Professional Indoor Football League season March 22 at Albany [Ga.]. After a trip to Alabama, the Venom will play host to Harrisburg on April 5 and Alabama on April 18. The 13-game schedule includes six at Municipal.