NFL Team Surprises Paralyzed Player With Official Contract

May 18, 2014

Devon Walker was paralyzed from the neck down after a collision with a teammate during a 2012 football game for Tulane University. But it never stopped him from becoming the team's inspirational leader the past two seasons.

And it didn't stop Walker from realizing his dream of signing an NFL contract, either.

Credit: Stacy Revere / Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints surprised Walker by signing him to an official contract Saturday.

"I'm proud to be up here with him, and I'm super proud of his recovery and the way he's handled this and the way he's approached this," said Saints coach Sean Payton, who raved about the leadership and inspiration Walker continued to provide his team following the injury. "Obviously he's been an inspiration to our region, to our community, New Orleans, the Tulane family, and it's carried over to us on the Saints."

Tulane's head coach Curtis Johnson credits Walker for much of their success last year, reaching a bowl game for the first time in over 10 years.

NPR / Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

"I didn't have to do any pregame speeches at home because he did them all," Johnson said. "And he policed the locker room. He policed those guys. He was around all the time.

"This kid deserves it all. He's very inspirational. Man, I love the kid."

And Johnson had no idea he was signing a contract with the Saints.

"I thought I was on my way to eat some oysters," Walker said. "They tricked me."

Sources: ESPN

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