If you ask the question of who the most promising players on the Green Bay Packers are heading into next season, you’ll probably land on Quay Walker at some point. Walker started out the season a little slow with some missed tackles here and there but started to show signs that he could become a force. He finished the season with 121 combined tackles tying the Packers rookie record, held by AJ Hawk. Walker also produced 1.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.
As a rookie who some thought might be more of a project player, I’d say Quay Walker produced fairly well his rookie season. Walker’s disruption was also very noticeable as he showed up many times in key situations to force a stop in short yardage situations.
Unfortunately, Quay Walker was also noticeable for having received two ejections in his first season.
Quay Walker’s first ejection came midway through the season vs the Buffalo Bills. Walker was knocking the ball carrier out of bounds when the two went toppling amongst those on the Bills sideline. A member of the Bills’ staff put hands on Walker seemingly to stop him or perhaps just set him off on his way. Walker obviously took offense to this and shoved the staff member receiving a personal foul as well as an ejection.
Not a lot came out of this ejection. It looked like a poor decision by Walker of course, but many felt there’s a chance some words were exchanged that set Quay off, and it was chalked up to him needing to check his emotions before dumb decisions like that are made.
The second ejection pretty much had no excuse. In a crucial game after Lion’s player DeAndre Swift had gone down on the field hurt, Walker aggressively shoved a member of the Lions staff tending to Swift. Once again, he received a personal foul, and an ejection.
This foul, however, was immediately placed under a microscope. There was no good reason for it. Walker was likely checking in on his former Georgia teammate’s well-being and took issue with the medical staff kind of pushing him out of the way. But this is the best moment to step aside. Sure, you’re concerned, but let the staff do their job and ensure the injured player’s condition doesn’t worsen.
Quay Walker then issued an apology via Twitter. He called it a stupid decision and said what he did was wrong. Walker also stated on Monday that he contacted the Lions and was able to speak with the staff member that he shoved. He fully apologized to the staff member and hoped he could be forgiven.
Sure, apologies happen all the time after situations like this. Some of them sincere, some of them rather half-assed. Quay Walker’s definitely seemed to be sincere. In a time where a lot of Twitter apologies seem to be more for the public than the individual wronged, it was good to know that Quay actually reached out to the staff member to apologize himself. This shows true recognition of wrongdoing and doing whatever possible to make it right.
Quay Walker is a football player. As basic as that may sound, I get that type of comment from the Rock himself, Larry McCarren. Over the years I’ve heard Larry say that guys that are willing to get their hands and faces dirty, guys that play with that aggression each and every play, guys that just seemingly sniff out the ball and make a big play each time, those, are the true football players. I see that in Quay Walker.
You know what’s got to be rough for Quay Walker right now? The realization that he doesn’t have the chance to redeem himself or truly move on from the narrative placed over his head, for another 8 months. But that also could be a good thing.
Knowing that it could be easy to get under his skin, many opposing offensive linemen could take their shots at Walker in hopes to provoke a 15-yard penalty. This is one thing Quay Walker will need to understand is coming. His outbursts have gone public, better to get them in check before they affect him more.
One step Quay Walker seems to have taken is deleting his Twitter account. While for some of us looking to promote our articles or platforms, Twitter is an excellent resource, it can be a bit of a cancer for professional athletes. Too many people looking to eat away at the negativity and ignoring the positives. One major example has been people calling for Quay Walker to be released. Let’s be honest, if you think a 1st round pick is going to be released their first year after promising play, but a few questionable decisions, you don’t know football. You don’t know it at all. So, I have to commend him for taking that step, time to cut out the haters and work on one-self and move on.
There’s no doubt about it that Quay Walker is a gifted athlete. We knew that the minute he was drafted. So far that’s translated onto the football field as well. It’s time to check those emotions and focus on the job he needs to do between the whistles, and not after.
Given the talent Walker has, and the true responsibility he has taken for his actions. I think Quay Walker will put the issues he’s had his rookie season in the rearview mirror. I know this Cheese Head definitely has his back.
Greg Meinholz is a 24/7/365 Packers fan. When he’s not spending time with his family, he can be found meditating in his Packers shrine with a good beer. You can follow him on twitter at @gmeinholz.