A few days ago, Devan Walker was sitting in his living room when his phone finally rang. It was his agent.
“Next day, you know,” Walker said, “I’m here.”
By here, Walker means Missouri Western, where the 24-year-old outside linebacker is one of 90 players battling it out to make the Chiefs’ roster or practice squad.
There’s a certain pressure that comes along with that, but it’s nothing like being a free agent, unsure where — or if — that next football opportunity will come from.
“It just gives you confidence that somebody believes in your talent,” Walker said.
Walker, who is listed at 6 feet 3 and 250 pounds, went undrafted out of Southeastern Louisiana in 2013 after a college career in which he had 15 sacks in 42 games. Walker signed with the San Diego Chargers but was waived-injured last August after suffering a knee injury.
“I was getting promoted on special teams; I was making a name for myself,” Walker said. “Unfortunately, I ran a little inside stunt in practice, got to the quarterback, and they blew the play dead but I fell right on my knee. I got up and walked off the field, came back and finished practice. But once I got an MRI later that day, I realized I had a partial tear in my lateral meniscus.”
Walker said he’d worked his way up from the fourth-team punt squad to the third team, with a few reps on the second team. He ended up having surgery on the day of the Chargers’ first preseason game.
Walker healed up and landed a tryout with the Chiefs during their three-day rookie minicamp in May.
“I came with a positive mindset, thinking I’m gonna give it everything I’ve got and leave it on the field,” Walker said. “(I figured) if it’s God’s will for me to be here, I’ll be here. It all happened for a reason, it all worked out.”
Walker said the Chiefs kept him on their shortlist after the camp. He did what he could to stay in shape and finally got the call he’d been waiting for this week, albeit after the Chiefs needed a replacement for outside linebacker Dezman Moses, who injured his elbow and was waived.
“Unfortunately somebody went down, and you never wish injury on anyone,” Walker said Sunday. “But I’m here.”