Titans TE Walker OK adjusting to lesser role


Titans tight end Delanie Walker watches practice on the bench during training camp.

Delanie Walker returned to practice -- albeit in limited fashion for the Titans -- last week, and hopes to be well enough to play again soon.

Walker was limited all week in practice, but didn't play in Sunday's pivotal home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Walker, 35, has played in just seven games due to re-injuring the ankle he had surgically repaired after last year's season opener, and has 21 catches on the season. While Jonnu Smith has proven to be a capable replacement and is becoming a bigger part of the Titans offense, Walker still hopes to contribute, even if it is in a more limited role.

"I don't think I hate the idea. At the end of the day, I was coming off an injury from last year where I dislocated my ankle, and looking at it in the bigger picture, it was just them trying to make sure I don't get hurt, and then look what happened, I got hurt," Walker said. "I think they're going to try to be smart and may limit me in some reps, but at the end of the day, I think that may be right for the ankle, and then when I feel better, maybe I'll get more playing time.

"I think anybody that plays this game wants to be on the field and make plays for the team. I would say it's always hard, but being a team player, I understand."

After what he went through last season, and now having had a setback this season, Walker is thankful that is still able to contribute something to the Titans, who need a strong final six weeks in order to make the postseason.

"I'm just happy to be back at all. Having that injury I had last year was tough, and I'm just blessed to play the game still at a high speed. I'm thankful that I'm still here and able to play the game," Walker said.

If he gets the chance, Walker believes he can provide some excitement, even if he is in more of a part-time role.

"I think I'm just another element to sparking the offense and sparking the team. It's just bringing that excitement and making plays. I think when you make plays, you kind of fire up both sides of the ball. And I think that's what I probably bring," he said. "Football is football. It's like riding a bike or swimming. You just don't forget how to do it."

Despite the injuries of the past couple of seasons, Walker is intent on playing out the contract extension he signed last year that would take him through the 2020 season with the Titans. After that, he said, who knows.

"I have another year and the doctor said my ankle would get better as the years go. I'm hoping that (I'll be fine) next year and then go from there," Walker said.

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