Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker is one of the best players in the game at his position, and he has proven to once again be a reliable weapon for Marcus Mariota this season.
He has played well against the Colts in his career too, catching 46 passes for 469 yards and three touchdowns in eight games - that’s his second-most yards against any opponent in his career and tied for his most touchdowns against an opponent. In the previous meeting between the teams this year, Walker caught seven passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, and in the regular season finale last year against the Colts he caught nine passes for 94 yards.
But beyond that, he’s also got another layer of history with the Colts: several incidents involving perceived cheap-shots.
“I love playing the Colts, they bring it out of me. I think they got something against me but it is what it is,” Walker said yesterday, laughing. “I understand that they see me as probably one of the better players on this team so they are going to try to do whatever it is to take me out of the game. I think it’s just good, fun competition. Those guys are just giving it all they have so I can understand some of the history we have.”
That history goes back to 2013, when Colts linebacker Erik Walden made an incredibly stupid play: he grabbed Walker’s facemask, ripped his helmet off, and then - while still wearing his own helmet - proceeded to headbut the tight end. Walden was penalized during the game but not ejected, though he was suspended for one game following the contest.
Then this year, Colts linebacker Josh McNary hit Walker in the chest on a play where the pass was not even thrown to the tight end but rather a bit downfield from him. McNary apologized for the hit even though it was much less clear whether it was a dirty hit, but given the history it’s fair to see why Walker and the Titans might have perceived it as such.
Odds are the Colts don’t really have anything at all against Delanie Walker, other than that he’s a good tight end and the Colts struggle to cover tight ends. There’s likely no malicious intent from the Colts targeted at Walker, but I’m sure it’s something the Titans and Walker will be paying attention to this Sunday.