INDIANAPOLIS — Anthony Walker Sr. had seen first-hand how a lack of a father figure had derailed the lives and careers of the best athletes to ever come from the Miami, Fla., area.
He wasn't about to let his son see that same fate.
Tonight was Colts Productions' second edition of its new series "Colts Life," which takes you to the hometown of third-year linebacker Anthony Walker, where you get a tremendous look at the unbreakable bond he shares with his father.
"Colts Life" got started last month with a feature on linebacker Darius Leonard, and this latest chapter continues the theme of getting to the bottom of what makes the Colts players and those associated with the organization really tick.
If you missed out on this latest episode, you can catch it right here:
Here are some highlights:
» As mentioned, you can't really get into the life of Walker without including his father. We learned in this piece that Walker Sr. had taken in his son at the age of 2, and they've been two peas in a pod ever since. "We've just always been together," Walker Sr. said. "I just wanted to make sure that he didn't have any pitfalls. I always just wanted to make sure he always stayed on track. Growing up in Miami, you can have those tough areas and you have peer pressure, so I just wanted to make sure as he grew up that we had that bond and that closeness that if ever ran into a hardship, that he could say, 'Hey dad, this is what happened.'"
» Because they're so close, "We talk like brothers," Walker Sr. said, "and (Walker Jr.) has the respect for father-son."
"Whether I need that tough love, you know, or whether I need, 'Hey man, that's fine, you'll get 'em next time, I love you,' whatever it is, he's there for me," Walker Jr. said.
» Walker Sr., who was a football coach at the high school level, said his son "was always traveling with me." Walker Jr. got into the nuances of the game at an early age, as he started studying film with his father at the age of 7, and by two years later he had full knowledge of his dad's offense. "So guys out there (are) asking him what route they should run, 'cause he knew it already," Walker Sr. recalled.
» Walker Sr. said he "knew the academic trail" would be his son's pathway to get "to wherever he wanted to be." When playing at the University of Miami didn't seem like it was going to be in the cards, Northwestern immediately got in the picture, and the Walkers felt like the opportunity to not only play footballi in the Big Ten, but to do it at one of the top academic institutions in the nation, was too good to pass up.
» Walker Jr. certainly did his part to earn a scholarship at a school like Northwestern, by the way. In this episode we go with Walker Jr. to a ceremony in his honor at Monsignor Edward Pace High School in the Miami area, where we learned Walker Jr. graduated in the top-ten percent of his class with a 4.7 GPA.
» Even Walker Jr.'s father was surprised with how quickly his son developed his game in the college ranks. "I mean, I watched him at Northwestern, (and) that's when I really was like, 'Man. I wasn't expecting this." Walker Jr. was an All-American and First Team All-Big Ten selection for the Wildcats, and the Colts selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. "I knew he was a good football player, but all the accomplishments after high school have just been a blessing," Walker Sr. said.
» Walker Jr. credits his relationship with his father as a primary reason why he's where he is today. "I think that's the No. 1 thing you can give a child; like, when you believe in them and you give them that ultimate confidence that you can really do it, then I think that kind of just propelled me," Walker Jr. said. "I've seen so many guys grow up without that father figure, and it's tough. They grow up and the only think that they're missing is that male guidance."
» "Especially coming out of Miami, Fla., we've seen so many kids that have so much ability, but for whatever reason it never gets to the final phase. So that was one of the things we always talked about, that don't let that be the downfall — poor attitude or bad personality or not coachable; things like that," Walker Sr. said.
"I've gotta thank Mr. Anthony Walker Sr. over there," Walker Jr. says in his ceremony at Monsignor Edward Pace High School. "All the hard work, all the sacrifices, all the dedication he made to me … I can't even get the words out of what he means to me, everything that he's done for me. I definitely appreciate you and love you more than you'll ever know."