Delanie Walker Thankful for His Time With the Titans as He Officially Announces His Retirement

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NASHVILLE – Delanie Walker had high hopes when he signed with the Titans back in 2013.

After seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, the tight end was looking for an opportunity to take his game to another level.

The next seven seasons – from 2013 to 2019 – Walker did just that, as he became a three-time Pro Bowler and a four-time captain while also being recognized twice as the team's Community Man of the Year.

On Tuesday, the day Walker officially announced his retirement from the NFL, he acknowledged things worked out pretty well for his career.

He's thankful for his time with the Titans.

"I would say it worked out better than I could have imagined," Walker said on Monday night. "I dreamt about it, and made it come to life because I believed it would. I knew once I had the opportunity, I wasn't going to let it get away from me. Playing in Tennessee, with the Titans, it was better than I ever dreamed of, and I can't thank the Titans organization enough for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to do everything I was able to do. It was a dream come true, to be honest with you."

Walker will hold a press conference announcing his retirement on Tuesday afternoon at Nissan Stadium, which will officially put a cap on his 14-year NFL career.

As a Titan, Walker became one of the most prolific tight ends in the NFL. His success came during a time when the fortunes of the franchise began to change.

Not bad for a guy who came into the league as a little-known player from Central Missouri, drafted in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the 49ers.

"When I came into this league, I wasn't a big name, and I left this league with a big name and that just shows I worked hard for this," Walker said. "I worked hard to put myself on the map, and to prove to myself I was an elite player in this league.

"To be able to retire with the Titans means a lot because I feel like those were my best years. I am honored to go out as a Titan. They gave me the opportunity to play my best football and go out there and do what I do best, and that's to be a dog. I am glad that I'm able to retire as a Titan."

Over his 14-year career, Walker recorded 504 receptions for 5,888 yards and 36 touchdowns in 183 games. During his Titans career, was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and he was selected a captain four times, in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Walker ranks second on the franchise's list of receptions by a tight end (381) and over a five-year period from 2013-17, no NFL tight end had more receptions than Walker (356).

"I want to congratulate Delanie on a fantastic NFL career," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said. "His impact on our team and in our community is undoubtedly one to be celebrated and set a standard for others. Very few players can say they were a four-time captain, went to three Pro Bowls and won the Community Man of the Year Award twice. He was a true professional in everything he did and was one of the key players who helped our organization reach the level of success that we have sustained for several years now. From a sixth-round selection by San Francisco to 504 receptions over 14 NFL seasons is quite a journey. Delanie will always be considered part of the Titans family, and we wish him continued success in the years to come."

Titans safety Kevin Byard called Walker a great teammate.

"He was a great teammate to me, and obviously one of the vets in the locker room when I was a rookie," Byard said of Walker. "He's a guy who always showed me love, and he showed me how to be a pro every single day, the way he attacked practice, treatment. … And he's a guy who always made a lot of plays for us during the time I was here. I am super-proud of him, and he is definitely one of the all-time great Titans."

Walker arrived in Tennessee as an unrestricted free agent in the spring of 2013 after recording 123 receptions over his first seven NFL seasons with the 49ers. Over his first five seasons with the Titans, he would register at least 60 receptions each season, including a career-best 94 receptions for a career-high 1,088 yards in 2015 – both established new franchise highs for tight ends, passing Frank Wycheck. He earned his first Pro Bowl appearance following his record-breaking 2015 campaign.

The Titans had four consecutive losing records from 2012-2015. It 2016, Walker's second year as a captain and Pro Bowler, the team finished with the first of what's turned into six consecutive winning seasons.

"I didn't know a lot about Nashville at the time," Walker said of signing with the team. "When they told me I had an opportunity to be a starter, and to make a name for myself, that was all I needed to hear, and I wanted to make the most of it. ... As a team, I felt like we built it together. We had the guys, the coaches, and it wasn't just me. It was a team effort, and it all came together."

Walker left his name throughout the Titans record books, finishing eighth in career receptions (381), ninth in career receiving yards (4,423), eighth in receiving touchdowns (28) and as the franchise's second-longest streak of consecutive games with a reception (83 games from 2013-19). He also owns the top four receiving yardage totals (1,088 in 2015; 890 in 2014; 807 in 2017; 800 in 2016) in a season for a tight end in franchise history.

Walker, who is now working with retired players as part of the NFL's Legends Community, broke his ankle in the 2018 season opener at Miami, and he played in just one game that season.

Walker played his last game with the Titans in November of 2019, as his season was cut short when he was placed on Injured Reserve.

"I remember when I got drafted in 2006, my family would ask me: How long do you think you're going to play? I said, maybe eight years. Hopefully I can make it to eight," Walker said.

"Playing this game, I did it for so long, I am so thankful. Honestly, I wish I could have played more, but injuries took place and there you have it."

Over his 14-year career, Walker recorded 504 receptions for 5,888 yards and 36 touchdowns in 183 games. During his Titans career, was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and he was selected a captain four times, in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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