Tracy Walker has 25 million reasons to be a happy man. He’s signed a three-year extension to remain where his career started. He gets to stay with his teammates and coaches, whom he admires. And lastly, Walker gets to handle his “unfinished business” with the Detroit Lions. As he said, he’s sick of losing in Detroit.
That all sounds good, right?
If you’re a Lions fan, you probably loved Walker’s Tuesday presser. He hit all of the key points that matter to football fans. If you’re a Lions fan and didn’t see it, go check it out. It’ll pull at the Honolulu Blue & Silver heartstrings. Why? Because Walker spoke like a fed-up Lions fan.
As great as his presser was, something stood out to me. In the most important moment of his professional career, Tracy Walker did something rare. It’s something I personally haven’t seen done by a professional athlete. He managed to loosely acknowledge the importance of money in his new deal while also demonstrating altruism.
“Everybody has that dream to make it to the NFL, but it’s beyond that for me,” Walker told reporters. “I’m able to take care of my family in a different aspect.”
Now surely there has been a player somewhere that talked about being able to provide for his family with a new deal. It’s almost a cliche. However, I am really big on verbiage. And the being able to take care of his family “in a different aspect” line is key to me.
In May 2018, Tracy Walker signed a four-year rookie deal with the Lions for $3.5 million, with a near $882k signing bonus. His deal is now a three-year contract at $25 million, with $17 million guaranteed.
That is a life-changing deal. And it’s great to hear Walker say that and not be coy about the importance of the money. Far too many times, athletes get their big paydays then say “I’d play this game for free” and a bunch of recycled jargon.
He’s keeping it real and acknowledging what this deal does for him. The home he raises and takes care of his family in may change. The way he’s able to save, spend, and invest will change. And the way he’ll be able to set up his kid’s future has changed.
The Detroit Lions made a smart move in bringing back Walker. His display at Tuesday’s presser was yet another example of his high character. He’s earned every dollar and cent in his new deal. And based on the leadership he’s shown over the past few seasons, it’ll only get better.
And while his on-the field production is what matters most, Detroit Lions fans should feel happy to have a “we-guy” back in the fold.