NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Delanie Walker knows all about the mark fellow tight end Frank Wycheck left on the Titans organization.
Wycheck played 11 NFL seasons, and became the fourth tight end in NFL history to record 500 receptions.
"Frank Wycheck is probably one of the best tight ends to play the game, and play for the Tennessee Titans,'' Walker said of Wycheck, who recorded 505 catches in his career.
On Sunday, Walker broke Wycheck's franchise record for the most receptions in a season by a tight end. Wycheck set the record by hauling in 70 passes in 1998, and he matched the mark in 2000. Walker's season totals now include 74 receptions for 871 yards and four touchdowns. He leads the team in all three categories.
"That is great, and I am honored,'' Walker said. "(Frank) is a smart player, and he made plays when he needed to make them...Some people say, 'You kind of remind us of Frank Wycheck.' Well, Frank Wycheck was a big guy. We have similarities, probably us catching balls and making plays are the most similar things we do well."
Walker said Wycheck, who led the Oilers/Titans in receptions five straight seasons from 1996-2000, has been supportive when he's seen him over the years. Walker, in his 10th NFL season, has 320 career catches.
"Mostly he just tells me I am doing good, and just keep doing it,'' Walker said of Wycheck.
Mike Mularkey said Walker deserves more recognition himself. Walker currently leads all NFL tight ends in receptions.
"He is such a good player,'' Mularkey said of Walker. "Delanie is good for this whole team. He is good for this locker room, and he is good for this organization. For anybody to think he is not a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end, he has had as good a season as anybody in this league and he deserves a chance to be recognized regardless of (win-loss) records."
Walker led the Titans with seven receptions for 71 yards against the Jets. It marked the seventh time this season Walker has recorded team highs in both categories. He has led or tied for the team lead in either receptions or receiving yards in every game since Week 3.
Walker admits getting open "has been tough" of late.
On many plays, Walker is getting double-teamed, bracketed, and pressed on the line of scrimmage. He said he sometimes runs his routes shorter to keep quarterback Marcus Mariota from taking too many hits.
But he's more than willing to keep doing it.
"Mike Mularkey tells me every week he needs me to show up, and make a play,'' Walker said. "So when I am out there, that is all I think about, the head coach and the offensive coordinator lean on me to make a play to spark the offense. So I try my hardest every play to try and get open.
"This is going to be a tough one, playing against the Patriots. I am pretty sure they are saying...we need to stop No. 82. I have to get the job done."