When there were visits and talks between the Tennessee Titans and linebacker Erik Walden this off-season, people wondered about it.
Not about Walden’s play, but about the “incident.” The “incident” was the 2013 game in which Walden, then with the Indianapolis Colts, head-butted Titans tight end Delanie Walker who did not have a helmet on. Walden was not ejected, but did receive a one-game suspension in the matter.
So when the Titans signed Walden last week, the question was bound to come up about how the two old rivals felt about joining forces together.
“That’s over. That’s in the past. We’re on the same side. We’re trying to accomplish the same mission. He’s a hell of a player. We’re on the same team and working together now,” Walden said.
Walker, who said a few years ago that he held no ill feelings toward Walden, said he was excited when Coach Mike Mularkey revealed to him that the Titans were contemplating adding his former rival to the roster.
“To be truthful, I’m glad we have him on our team. I hated blocking that guy; he’s pretty tough,” Walker said. “To be honest, it’s football. That happened years ago, and we’ve played each other so many times, we’ve talked it, and after that, it was really nothing.
“It’s funny, when we signed him, Mike (Mularkey) told me the day he came in and they think he’s a good player. I told him I was all aboard with whatever we can do to make this organization better. I was happy when he came in, so now I don’t have to block him.”
Waldesays he feels like the Titans were the right fit for him in free agency, even as a late addition just before the start of training camp.
“You just look at all the talent they’ve got in place,” said Walden, who is beginning his 10th NFL season with his sixth different team.
The outside linebacker is coming off a career-high 11 sacks after finishing a four-year contract with the Colts, and agreed to a one-year deal with the Titans this past week.. He should provide needed depth behind Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan on the edge for Tennessee.
“The coaches have a great atmosphere and the owner and the GM do a great job. It just felt like a perfect fit leaving Indy. I’m thankful for the opportunity. I’m definitely blessed with this one, and Im definitely looking forward to it. Now, I’m here,” Walden said.
Walden, who will turn 32 soon, spent his off-season doing things like boxing and other forms of training to stay in shape because he didn’t have off-season work in a camp as he has in years past. He split time between his home in Dublin, Ga., and Atlanta while working out..
“I did anything I could do to make sure I was getting better. It was a different process for me, but it was good too because I got to spend some time with my family and stay healthy,” he said.