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New Orleans Saints sign paralyzed former Tulane player Devon Walker

Saturday was a day that New Orleans Saints safety Devon Walker will never forget.

That's right: He's a Saint, just like any other rookie in the team's minicamp this weekend. Walker, the former Tulane safety who suffered paralysis from the neck down while making a tackle for the Green Wave, signed an honorary contract with the NFL team.

Walker was a former walk-on who was a captain in his final season at Tulane in 2012. In his second game that season, he suffered what would be a career-ending spinal injury to the C3 and C4 vertebrae when he collided with a teammate while trying to make a tackle. He spent several months in the hospital before returning home in December 2012.

But Walker returned to the Tulane sideline and supported his former Green Wave teammates in 2013 as they enjoyed the finest season the program has had in a decade. Now Walker is trying to support his new teammates with the Saints. Consider head coach Sean Payton a fan of Walker.

“When Devon got hurt, his football career was just starting to take off after three years of hard work,” 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.”

Saturday also was special for Walker because he earned his degree in cell and molecular biology, participating in graduation ceremonies. It's a day Walker should never forget.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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