INDIANAPOLIS — Anthony Walker was seen taking in the Indianapolis Colts’ third and final mandatory minicamp practice from the sidelines on Thursday.
It was a welcomed sight after a scary few moments during practice the day prior.
Walker was carted off the field after spending several minutes on his back being tended to by team trainers after the linebacker was crossed up in traffic during a run play in 11-on-11 drills.
Colts head coach Frank Reich confirmed after Thursday’s practice that Walker “just had some incidental contract on a run play, so he’s in concussion protocol.”
“And we’ll keep our eyes on that,” Reich said.
For Walker, the timing of his injury this week is bittersweet; bitter, because he appeared to be getting a majority of the reps with the first-string defense at the MIKE linebacker spot during offseason work, but sweet because he now has about six weeks to rest up before the team reports back for training camp on July 25.
Walker — a fifth-round pick by the Colts out of Northwestern last year — never really got a chance to gain any momentum in his rookie season after suffering a hamstring injury in the team’s Week 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.
He would miss six of the next seven games, and, in 10 games total (with two starts), would end up registering 19 tackles (one for a loss), while also logging three special teams stops and a blocked punt.
But with the Colts hiring a new head coach in Reich, and a new defensive coordinator in Matt Eberflus, the team this offseason began a transition to a 4-3 defensive scheme. The three linebacker spots immediately became wide open for the taking, and Walker has impressed the last nine-plus weeks during the team’s offseason workout program.
Walker told reporters last month he’s enjoyed the new defensive approach, which is “a lot of just being aggressive, a lot less thinking.”
“You just have to trust the system and trust the movement in front of you, being able to play off (the) D-line,” Walker said. “As linebackers, that’s what you have to be able to do, play off the D-linemen. So, just be able to play fast and see what’s going on in front of you and play off of that.”
Veteran Najee Goode, a free agent pickup for the Colts this offseason, was seen taking Walker’s place on the practice field after his injury on Wednesday. The team utilized several other linebackers at the MIKE throughout OTAs and minicamp, as well.