NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans tight end Delanie Walker made history with his record-breaking performance in 2015.
It earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl, and now he's been rewarded with a new multi-year deal with the team.
The Titans and Walker on Friday reached an agreement on a contract extension. Walker led the Titans and all NFL tight ends in receptions in 2015 with 94 catches, and he turned them into 1,088 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Walker's contract was initially scheduled to expire after the 2016 season.
"Delanie is an integral piece of the offense,'' Titans general manager Jon Robinson said. "In my short time around him, he came in and bought into our philosophy of what Titan football is going to be about. Obviously he's a Pro Bowl player with great individual statistics, but his commitment and his desire and willingness to compete to the team concept of wanting to win is as important. We are looking forward to his on-field performance, but his positive impact in the community as well."
Walker, who's preparing for his 11th NFL season, on Friday night said he's thankful. He also said he'd like to end his career in Tennessee after beginning his career in 2006 with the 49ers.
"The Titans gave me the opportunity three years ago to come in here, and they believed in me to come in here and be a starting tight end,'' Walker said. "I feel like for them to give me the opportunity and for me to prove that I can play in this league as one of the best tight ends in the NFL, I want to be here, and I wanted to get this deal done here so I could stay.
"I want to end my career here. I'm not saying after this contract is up I am done. Hopefully I can be here longer than that because I love being in Nashville. I love the state of Tennessee. Mike Mularkey is a great coach and I love playing under him. I'm glad it worked out." Walker set a franchise records for tight ends in catches and receiving yards in 2015, and became just the ninth tight end in NFL history to record 90 catches in a season, joining Tony Gonzalez (five times), Jason Witten (four), Todd Christensen (two) and Dallas Clark, Jimmy Graham, Ben Coates, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski.
When Walker reported for the start of the offseason program, he said he wanted to keep it going.
"I always felt like I was an elite tight end in the league, and I finally got the opportunity to play in the Pro Bowl,'' Walker said. "But it hasn't changed me. I am still hungry, and I want to do more. This time, I don't want to be an alternate. I want to be that guy that gets voted in and I know that takes us winning games. This year I really think we are going to win the games and I'll probably get the recognition I deserve."
Mularkey said keep Walker with the team for multiple years is important.
"This is a great day for our organization," Mularkey said. "He is one of the best players in the NFL and he is a guy that has continued to represent himself, the organization and the city of Nashville in a positive manner since the day he arrived. Delanie has been a pleasure to coach and it is very gratifying as a coach to watch him perform at such a high level week after week."
Walker, who has caught at least 60 passes in every season since joining the Titans in 2013, has been one of the team's leaders in the early stages of the team's offseason program, Robinson said.
In 10 NFL seasons, Walker has caught 340 passes for 4,014 yards and 24 touchdowns. He's played the past three seasons with the Titans after spending his first seven seasons with the 49ers.
Robinson said Walker is a perfect example of a player being rewarded for his hard work, and doing things the right way.
"If you come in and represent our brand of football the way we want it represented, do what we ask of you, and embody all the characteristics that are a premium for players that are going to be on our football team, and perform at the level Delanie has performed at,'' Robinson said, "then we'll do our best to keep those guys here.
"Granted, you can't always keep everybody. But Delanie was a player that we definitely wanted to commit to working toward keeping here for a while."
TitansOnline.com looks back at TE Delanie Walker's 2015 season. (AP Photos)