Walker returning from injury stronger, more agile

Posted Aug 3, 2016

After completing a rehab regimen that improved his overall strength and agility, it’s easy to see why Tyrunn Walker’s had a nice start to camp.

Tyrunn Walker had never broken a bone in his life before suffering a broken left leg and dislocated ankle last season in a 13-10 loss in Seattle Week 4.

He had surgery within 24 hours of the injury, and then began the long road back to health. The kind of rehab Walker needed was new to him. But like he does with just about everything in life, Walker attacked with 100 percent ferocity, and he’s appeared to come back even stronger.

Walker posted a video of himself rehabbing and doing agility drills in early March. A couple weeks later he re-signed with the Lions.

He was back in pads this past Sunday for the first time since his injury.

“It was kind of a different sweetness for me, because Oct. 5, I was out of pads,” Walker said.

“Oct. 5 I got hurt. So just me coming back out here and putting these pads on, it was great.”

Walker beat up on second-year guard Laken Tomlinson pretty good in one-on-one pass rushing drills during the first padded practice and was also disruptive in team drills.

It made Walker feel like those hard rehab days were well worth it.

“Coming back from what I came back from, I had never broken a bone before, I didn’t know how to deal with it,” Walker said. “So (rehabbing hard) was the only way I knew how to do it. Just push, push, push.”

While Walker may have pushed hard, there was also a very specific plan in place for how he was going to rehab.

He sat down with the trainers and coaches at the end of last season to figure out a rehab program that would not only get his leg back in football shape, but also make him a better overall player within Teryl Austin’s scheme.

“When I was out there rehabbing, I was working on stuff we did here,” Walker said of his offseason rehab in Baton Rouge, LA.

After signing with Detroit as a free agent last year, he had to make the adjustment from being a player who played laterally along the defensive line in a 3-4 scheme to one now asked to penetrate and attack.

He entered this offseason with a greater comfort level with the scheme and his responsibilities within it. Couple that with a rehab regimen that improved both his overall strength and agility, and it’s easy to see why Walker’s had a nice start to camp.

“I’ve seen maturity and growth within the system,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of Walker. “Certainly seen maturity and growth that started within the technical side of it, working with Kris (Kocurek), the things that we do up front. 

“Overall, he’s in much better shape. In very, very good condition and I think he’s just a more powerful man at this point. He’s always been able to run, even before he got here he was a pretty versatile guy inside and out. He’s bringing that kind of versatility to us as well, but I think also he has some real athleticism up front for us.”

The Lions never got an opportunity to see what they had in the starting defensive tackle combination of Walker and Haloti Ngata last season. Ngata entered training camp on the NFI list and wasn’t himself until about midseason. Walker’s year was done within a month.

Both are healthy and humming early on in training camp, which is good news for a Lions defense looking to be much stronger at the point of attack.