Delanie Walker talked to Sports Illustrated’s Jenny Vrentas for this morning’s version of the Monday Morning Quarterback. Vrentas was chatting with Walker for a section of the article that discussed players advocating for gun safety. The Titans star tight end is hosting his annual football camp in his hometown of Pomona, California and will be passing out orange bandanas in support of Everytown for Gun Safety — a cause near and dear to his heart — but he also commented on his health status — a topic near and dear to the hearts of all Titans fans.
The tight end said he doesn’t know if he’ll begin training camp on the PUP list, less than a year removed from the serious ankle injury that ended his 2018 season. “I’ll leave that up to the coaches,” he said. After leaving last year’s season opener with an injury that required an air cast, Walker returned to the field during the Titans’ OTAs and felt good about his progress. “Just stepping on the field, running routes and doing drills, that was the biggest [hurdle],” he said. “I had only been running for two weeks, and being able to run routes against guys, and beating them.” Walker sat out the June mini-camp and it sounds like he’s expecting the team to ease him into training camp—whether that means starting on the PUP list or not. “We have great coaches and training staff,” he said. “They’re probably not going to let me hit the ground running like I want to, but I look forward to getting into my groove.”
The fact that Walker “doesn’t know” if he will begin camp on the PUP list isn’t really a huge deal to me.
The only thing we really know from this statement is that the team hasn’t told Walker what their plans are just yet. That’s not necessarily surprising. I would imagine that Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel want to get him in after the break and put him through a medical evaluation to see where he’s at physically.
The Titans are also likely to have him on some sort of scaled back practice schedule regardless of his injury status. He will turn 35 next month and has been new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s top pupil for several years now. Few players need training camp work less than Walker.
During training camp and preseason, players on the PUP list can be activated at any time so even if Walker does start with that designation, he would be available as soon as the medical staff and coaching staff clear him to practice. It’s only when players are listed on the PUP list at the start of the regular season that they are required to sit out the first six weeks of the year.
Obviously, you’d prefer that Walker gets a clean bill of health and be ready to roll when veterans report on July 25th, but I would reserve any panic at this point.