Titans’ Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker on injured reserve
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker will have surgery on his right ankle in the next few days, and Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said the Titans will decide if the veteran might be able to return later this season.
The Titans placed Walker on injured reserve Monday and signed tight end MyCole Pruitt off Houston’s practice squad.
“Disappointing because he puts a lot into it,” Vrabel said of Walker’s injury. “He plays hard, been a productive player for us and somebody that I was excited to coach and be with. But hopefully, we’ll see where he’s at after surgery and re-evaluate his potential return.”
Walker was hurt with 3:33 left in the Titans’ 27-20 loss in Miami when Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald tackled him at the end of a 15-yard reception. Walker was carted off after having his right ankle wrapped in an air cast.
No tight end has had more catches than Walker’s 356 receptions between 2013 and 2017. Walker, 34, signed an extension through 2020 in training camp . He was the Pro Bowl MVP in January and has been quarterback Marcus Mariota’s favorite target the past three seasons.
The rest of the Titans’ tight end group includes Jonnu Smith, a third-round pick out of Florida International in 2017, eight-year veteran Luke Stocker who has started 58 of his 84 career games, and Anthony Firkser who spent last season on Kansas City’s practice squad.
Combined, the trio has 56 career receptions and will be replacing a veteran who led the Titans with 74 catches last season alone.
Vrabel, who spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with Houston, saw the 6-foot-2, 245-pound Pruitt on the Texans‘ practice squad. Pruitt has 12 catches for 102 yards in stops with Minnesota and Chicago before arriving in Houston out of Southern Illinois.
“Being able to see him on the practice squad last year and see what he did in Houston in his time there practicing against us and some of the stuff that he did was excited to be able to get him and tell (general manager) Jon (Robinson) that this is somebody that we think can help us,” Vrabel said.