On the day where former safety Devon Walker graduated from Tulane University, another of his dreams came true. According to a New Orleans Saints spokesperson, Walker was signed to a one-day contract by New Orleans. Walker, who is a four-year letterman for the Green Wave, played his college football from 2009-2012. In only his second game during his senior season, Walker suffered a career-ending injury following a collision with a teammate. He was left paralyzed from the neck down and spent the next three months in a hospital before being allowed to return home.
He returned to the classroom in the fall of 2013, to continue his work towards a degree in cell and molecular biology. Walker continued to support his teammates throughout the 2013 season and spoke to the team prior to each regular season home game and the New Orleans Bowl.
Walker received local and national recognition for his inspirational attitude. In 2013, he was awarded the Disney Spirit Award, which is given each year to an inspirational figure in college football. The New Orleans Fellowship Foundation also honored Walker by naming one of their annual awards the "Devon Walker Courage Award." In 2012, he was named the Brandon Burlsworth Award winner, recognizing former walk-ons who contributed to their team.
"When Devon got hurt, his football career was just starting to take off after three years of hard work," said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. "Despite the devastating injury he suffered, Devon refuses to let that define him. He is an outstanding young man, who is not only an inspiration to his coaches and teammates at Tulane, but to all of us. Devon's character, determination, intelligence and work ethic are everything that we look for in a New Orleans Saint when we sign a player. This is the least we can do to recognize Devon and these attributes that we want all of our players to have."
"I would like to congratulate Devon on his graduation and for all his accomplishments," said Tulane Head Coach Curtis Johnson. "I am very proud of him and I am very happy for his family. This is a first class move by a first class organization. The Saints have been very supportive of Devon and I would like to thank Mr. (Tom) Benson, Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton for allowing Devon to be a part of an NFL team. I believe it once again demonstrates the organization's commitment to the New Orleans community and to one of its own."
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