Tyrunn Walker making the most of offseason training program

Posted May 20, 2015

Defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker likes to spice up his morning workouts with a healthy dose of competition.

The offseason training program can get monotonous at times for NFL players -- No pads, no hitting --  sometimes it doesn’t seem like football at all.

The offseason training program is a necessary evil, however, and players find their own ways to break up the monotony.

Defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker spices up his morning workouts with a healthy dose of competition.

“I rotate in sometimes with the linebackers and do a couple 20-yard sprints with the DBs just to push myself and get better,” Walker told

Tyrunn WalkerDT Tyrunn Walker (Photo: AP Images)

“Their thing is not to let me win and that’s great, I love to chase the rabbit, which is what I call it, and it’s just going to make me better. I pick my battles. I'm not going to run 100-yard sprints with them, but some short stuff I try to get in with them and run a little bit.

"When you're having fun you'll work harder, that's what I'm doing, I'm having fun out here."

Walker smiled with a huge grin when asked if he's ever caught one of the linebackers or defensive backs in those short sprints.

"I don't know names, I just know I didn't finish dead last," he said. "I caught a couple. It's all fun and games. We're just out here working hard to get better."

Walker has been chasing the rabbit for most of his NFL career.

He went undrafted out of Tulsa in 2012. He signed with New Orleans after the draft and made the 53-man roster out of training camp, but was inactive for 15 games as a rookie. He worked his way into seven games in his second season in 2013 before finally becoming a mainstay in the rotation by year three (last season).

The Lions, however, are giving Walker a chance to be a starter alongside Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata and log serious minutes in their defense.

“A lot of guys never get the opportunity to be that guy,” Walker said. “That’s what they’re doing here (in Detroit). They’re giving me an opportunity to come in and show what I can do and I’m ready for it.”

The Lions signed Walker to a one-year, $1.75 million deal and he knows it’s on him to earn the next contract offer.

“I mean, I’m undrafted, so there’s always going to be that edge that I have and that chip that I have to go out and prove myself each and every day no matter what it is -- running sprints or whatever it is,” he said. “I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder and that’s how it’s going to be for the rest of my career.”

The Lions think Walker’s combination of size and speed will fit perfect in their attacking scheme and signed him a couple days into free agency with the expectation he’d be a disruptive force in the center of their defense.

“It’s kind of free roam for the defensive tackle,” Walker said of his early impressions of Teryl Austin’s scheme. “Get off and do your thing and play football. It’s always good when you can take the reading out of it and get up the field and do your thing.

“We have great ends with J.J. (Jason Jones) and Ziggy (Ansah) and Darryl Tapp and Larry Webster is coming around. Just seeing everyone come together and do the things we need to get done, I think we’re far ahead of the learning curve.”

Walker credits a lot of that with the veteran leadership Ngata has been providing the defensive line room so far.

“It’s been great,” Walker said. “Just learning how he thinks and works. He’s a great All-Pro and he’s soon to be a Hall of Famer.

“It’s been great just picking his brain and just asking him a few questions like, ‘how do you play this’ because he played in this system in Baltimore with similar calls. So, (I’m) just trying to get the things that he knows and it’s going to work in the end.”

Walker says he's in the playbook every night before bed and ready to make the most of the opportunity the Lions are giving him.