INDIANAPOLIS – For most students wrapping up their final collegiate class there is some time to breathe before the real world beckons.
That was not the case for Anthony Walker.
Last Wednesday, Walker's final class at Northwestern, Learning Science of Cultural Languages, concluded just after lunchtime.
There was no time to celebrate for Walker.
Instead, he packed things up and hopped on I-65 south to report for professional duty with the Indianapolis Colts.
Because of Northwestern's quarterly class schedule, Walker could not participate in the Colts offseason program until his school obligations were completed.
Those are now finished after Walker earned an A in his final class, a 3.2 GPA and a degree in Learning and Organizational Change, with a minor in Finance and Marketing.
After a handful of OTAs behind him since reporting to Indianapolis, Walker does not feel too far behind.
"I've been literally going over practice film with (linebackers coach Jim Hermann) every day, every day that I missed," Walker says of him balancing school and professional life during the month of May.
"I've been in my playbook and everything. Maybe a couple reps here and there that I probably would have got earlier, but that's just going with the flow of the game. It's been a good transition."
School has always been the priority in the Walker household.
As the son of a football coach and teacher, Walker knew exactly the importance of sports compared to education.
"Always school first," Walker says. "Football came second, in my house."
"I wasn't going to be able to come out (of college early) unless I was close with my degree."
With senioritis behind Walker, his arrival in Indianapolis means some first-team reps on the field.
Walker is in the mix at inside linebacker, where a handful of guys are competing for the two open starting spots.
"He's a between-the-tackles guy and a little faster than you give him credit (based on) his timed speed," Pagano says of the team's fifth-round pick. "He's a quick reactor and can diagnose. He anticipates things well, sees things well and gets a jump on things, so he maybe looks a little faster than a timed 40 speed."
NFL life has now begun for Walker and it's the environment he wants to be in for a long, long time.
Future goals for Walker?
-A Master's Degree in Sports Administration
-Get into an NFL front office one day and become a general manager
"I just want to be around the game of football," Walker says, "be part of a team and make some decisions."
Will any of those 2017 decisions come as a rookie starter in the middle of the Colts defense?
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