Newly minted Eagles defensive tackle Charles Walker drew criticism for leaving Oklahoma’s football team last year before its season ended (head coach Bob Stoops essentially called him a quitter), but it turns out he had a good reason. Walker’s early exit came because of a battle with depression, which he explained in a letter to all 32 NFL teams prior to the draft, reports Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links). Walker also notified clubs that taking medication has helped curb his depression. Despite that positive development and Walker’s high upside, nobody took a flier on him during the seven-round draft.
More from around the game:
- Free agent center Nick Mangold, unemployed since the Jets released him in February, told Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday that he’s “trying to get ready” for 2017, but it doesn’t appear retirement is out of the question for the 33-year-old. When asked if he has ruled out walking away from football, Mangold said, “We’re still trying to see what the options are.” Although he has an outstanding track record, there has been scant interest in the seven-time Pro Bowler this offseason. It’s possible that’ll change shortly, however, as New Orleans may be on the lookout for help in the middle of its offensive line.
- After a four-year stint as Nebraska’s quarterback, the undrafted Tommy Armstrong is going to have to change positions if he wants to make the Vikings. Armstrong, who’s currently unsigned, entered the Vikings’ rookie minicamp trying out at running back. Minnesota then shifted him to safety, and he intrigued the club enough to earn an invitation to organized team activities, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. Said Armstrong, whose college career included 90 touchdowns (67 passing, 23 rushing): “I met with (defensive backs coach Jerry) Gray after practice Sunday, and he said, ‘We’re going to fly you back up here (next) Sunday and we’ll give you a playbook. He said he’d call me in a few days. They also like the way I’ve been playing special teams.’’
- Upward of 12 players in the Spring League have been invited to NFL minicamps. CEO Brian Woods says he’s happy with the way things have played out since the league’s inaugural season wrapped up. “We were pleased with the NFL turnout for sure,” Woods said (via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com). “It was overwhelming and we were happy to have it. I was talking as it wrapped up with some of our coaches, and we feel like this league is in position to help quarterbacks as much as anything, and we all know that’s an ongoing priority for the NFL.” Generally, though, NFL execs have told Seifert that they wished the league was younger as a whole. Running back Ben Tate, 28, apparently turned in the best performance of any of the league’s players.
Zach Links contributed to this post.