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Paralyzed Safety Devon Walker Signs with Saints

Former Tulane University safety Devon Walker signed with the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, the team announced.
New Orleans -- Former Tulane University safety Devon Walker signed with the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, the team announced.

The four-year letterman suffered a career-ending spinal injury in 2012 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Last fall, he returned to campus to continue his studies in molecular biology.

Walker graduated Saturday before signing with the Saints. In 2013, Walker received the Disney Spirit Award, given annually to college football’s most inspirational figure.

He was also honored by the New Orleans Fellowship Foundation. The organization renamed one of its annual awards the Devon Walker Courage Award. He was also named the 2012 Brandon Burlsworth Courage Award recipient.

“When Devon got hurt, his football career was just starting to take off after three years of hard work,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Despite the devastating injury he suffered, Devon refuses to let that define him. He is an outstanding young man, who is not only an inspiration to his coaches and teammates at Tulane, but to all of us. Devon’s character, determination, intelligence and work ethic are everything that we look for in a New Orleans Saint when we sign a player. This is the least we can do to recognize Devon and these attributes that we want all of our players to have.”

Tulane coach Curtis Johnson congratulated Walker on graduating.

“I am very proud of him and I am very happy for his family,” Johnson said. “This is a first-class move by a first-class organization. The Saints have been very supportive of Devon and I would like to thank Mr. (Tom) Benson, Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton for allowing Devon to be a part of an NFL team.”
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