NFL

P.J. Walker’s Journey Back to the NFL

HOUSTON, TEXAS - MARCH 07: P.J. Walker #11 of the Houston Roughnecks throws a pass downfield against the Seattle Dragons during an XFL game at TDECU Stadium on March 07, 2020 in Houston, Texas.
Bob Levey/Getty Images

P.J. Walker is returning to the NFL after being released by the Colts in August of 2019.

stats from pro-football-reference.com

Walker declared for the NFL draft during his senior season, and unfortunately, was not invited to the NFL Combine. Not being invited to the combine hurt Walker’s draft stock, as he was not selected in the draft. Even though he wasn’t picked by a team, the Indianapolis Colts reached out to him and signed him as an undrafted free agent (UDFA). 

Walker had an interesting time with the Colts as he bounced back and forth from being on the roster to being on the practice squad. He was also waived multiple times and then re-signed, two to three days later.

Despite never throwing a pass in a regular-season NFL game, Walker impressed one of his teammates with his talents, Andrew Luck.

Walker Finds His Way in the XFL

Luck’s father just so happened to create his own football league, the XFL. When Oliver Luck was looking for quarterbacks to assign to each team, Luck gave his dad some advice. Oliver told the Houston Chronicle that “Andrew had been pushing him [Walker] to me. He said, ‘Dad, I’m telling you, this guy can play. He’s a good kid and a hard worker, and he’s hungry to play.’” Oliver listened to his son’s advice and placed Walker on the Houston Roughnecks.

stats from stats.xfl.com

Before the XFL folded, Walker was the #1 MVP Candidate. He led the Roughnecks to a 5-0 record, with 1,338 passing yards, 15 passing touchdowns, and four interceptions. This drew the likes of multiple NFL teams. 

Once NFL Free Agency started, Walker received a contract from the Carolina Panthers for two years and $1.565 million, including a $150k signing bonus and a $25k workout bonus. He signed with them and is now joining Teddy Bridgewater and Will Grier in the quarterback room.

Not only is Walker joining two other talented quarterbacks, but his head coach will also be Matt Rhule, his head coach at Temple. Walker said a big part that helped him sign with the Panthers is his comfort level with Coach Rhule. He said, “It was more so the opportunity with Carolina and it was the best fit for me. And for me, I wanted to go where I felt comfortable, and I felt comfortable with Coach Rhule. And especially with the opportunity, I just wanted to take advantage of that as well.”

Going Forward

Walker has had an incredible journey back to the NFL. It will be interesting to see what he can get done with Rhule as his head coach and if he manages to stay on the roster, rather than the practice squad. Walker has proven he has lots of talent in the XFL, and now he needs to show that off in the NFL.

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