NASHVILLE – Christion Abercrombie and D'Andre Walker played youth football together while growing up in Georgia.
In the NFL Draft, their lives crossed paths once again in an unpredictable way.
The Titans selected Walker, an outside linebacker from the University of Georgia, in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. The person who called his name was Abercrombie, who announced the fifth-round pick for the Titans at the draft in Nashville.
Abercrombie, who played at Tennessee State, suffered a life-threatening injury in a football game against Vanderbilt last season.
The middle linebacker from Atlanta had two brain surgeries and has spent countless hours in rehabilitation therapy, and he's made a remarkable recovery. He was on stage in Nashville for what ended up being a special moment for himself and Walker.
Abercrombie called Walker after making the pick.
"It was amazing, man," Walker said. "It was a blessing for the both of us."
Walker was taken with the 168th pick of the draft.
Walker (6-3, 245) started all 13 games at Georgia in 2018, and finished with 45 stops, and 11 tackles for a loss. He had 7.5 sacks and 14 quarterback pressures, all team highs.
In the team's SEC Championship Game vs. Alabama, Walker had five tackles, including two for a loss, a quarterback sack and a forced fumble. He was co-winner of the Defensive Up Front award, given at the team's postseason awards gala.
In 2017, Walker played in 15 games and had 40 stops, 13.5 tackles for a los and 5.5 sacks. He was one of four defensive players to win Most Improved Award, given at the team's postseason awards gala.
"We think he has value on all three downs," General Manager Jon Robinson said of Walker. "Good speed to power, can set the edge. ... He's a player that we kind of targeted all along … and we took him.""
Walker dealt with hernia and knee injuries, but he said he's healthy now.
"I'm just ready to play football," Walker said. "It's been 15-16 weeks of me not being able to put my hands on nobody. I just want to play football again. I want to put on my shoulder pads and my helmet and get back to work."
The Tennessee Titans select Georgia outside linebacker D'Andre Walker in the fifth round (168th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft. (Photos: AP, Georgia)
TSU's Christion Abercrombie announced the fifth-round pick for the Titans, calling his friend's name -- Georgia LB D'Andre Walker. (Photos: Al Wagner)