Tracy Walker said at the end of last year he hoped to stay with the Lions because of the coaching staff and scheme changes Detroit made under new head coach Dan Campbell.
Walker, 27, is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, finishing with a team-leading and career-high 108 tackles, after an admittedly down year in 2020 under the previous coaching staff.
Walker's heart was always in Detroit, and he got his wish Tuesday, signing a three-year contract extension to stay with the Lions through 2024.
View photos of Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker.
"The coaching staff played a very huge role in me coming back," Walker told reporters Tuesday after signing his new deal. "Wanted to be back. My teammates as well. I just see where everything is going. Seeing what these guys came in last year and the momentum they brought with them. The ideas and leadership they brought with them. That made me want to stick around."
Walker said there were some other interested teams in free agency, but ultimately Detroit felt like home for him, and he wanted to take care of what he views as unfinished business with the Lions.
Walker, who had one interception and six pass breakups in 15 games in 2021, was one of five safeties to produce at least 100 tackles with a sack and interception last season.
"Both him and I believe for as good as this year was, there is vast room for improvement," defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant said of Walker during the Senior Bowl last month. "Collectively, if we get a chance to work again in the future, you guys can see the same progression that maybe we've seen over the last year."
Even after signing Walker, the Lions still have a need for another starter at safety, whether that's via free agency over the next few weeks or in next month's NFL Draft.
Go behind the scenes with the Detroit Lions during 2022 free agency.
Walker was clearly a priority signing for the Lions and general manager Brad Holmes, and he got his wish of being able to continue his career in Detroit with the Lions.
"I had offers and people who wanted me, but at the end of the day, I knew where home was," Walker said. "This is home. Everything about the coaching staff. I want to be a part of this situation, so that's what made me really, really want to come back."