My Elite Network: Why did you decide to attend Memphis?
Jeff Walker: Well it's really simple, I came from a small town, Olive Branch Mississippi. At that time, I wasn’t very big, so I didn’t think I could play college ball. But, we had a great high school football team. Basically, I was offered a scholarship and it was in my backyard. I was only 45 minutes from home, so my family could come see me play.
My Elite Network: Do you have a favorite memory?
Jeff Walker: I have several, but the one that sticks out right away is a good and a bad memory. Long story, short we played in the Liberty Bowl to start the season and we beat Ole Miss, 17 to 37. I had one of the best games I ever had.I can still remember just about every play. It was a big turning point in that program. Then tragedy stuck - our coach, John "Rex" Dockery, was killed in a small plane crash along with the Offensive Coordinator, Chris Faros, and freshman, Charles Greenhill. They were on their way to speak at an event and to recruit a really good running back. It was devastating, they were all such good people. So, it was terrible. Recently, I was speaking to Coach Dockery’s wife’s first two classes. They were solid, his recruitment helped build the program. He found talented ball players, and I celebrate that now.
My Elite Network: How did you find out that the Chargers drafted you?
Jeff Walker: I played in the Blue Grey Game on Christmas Day and that led to me playing in the Senior Bowl. I went up against Bo Jackson. That was amazing in itself.Because of those two games, I was invited to attend the NFL Combine. We had 11 guys who got drafted, five probably six in my class and five the next year. We had three or four more go as free agents, so we had 14 guys go to the NFL from those two years. We were a solid team.This is funny, Tom Landry called my house and my dad answered. I walked in and my dad tells me that some guy named Tom Landry is on the phone, it didn’t register to my dad that it was the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys. It turned into a family joke! Word was that I would be going in the latter part of the first round and we figured I would be going to Dallas. Back then the NFL Draft had 12 rounds. It was six or seven o'clock in the morning and there were two TV cameras from Channel 3 and Channel 5 outside my house, just waiting. I think I was the 70th player taken- it's weird because I would have bet against being drafted by the Chargers because I never talked to them.
My Elite Network: What was it like walking into the Charger locker room for the first time?
Jeff Walker: I was a football nut in high school, so I walked into the locker room and see all these guys that I've been watching growing up.They're All-Pro and they have had these legendary games on TV. It was surreal, I’m thinking how did I get here? This was crazy. Funny story, some of the players and I go out to dinner and I ordered sweet tea and fried tomatoes.Everybody started laughing, they thought I was some country hick.
My Elite Network: What do you hope fans and teammates will remember about you?
Jeff Walker: I hope that most people remember, especially my teammates, that I was a team player and I gave all I had on both the practice field and in games. And that I was not a selfish player but cared about my teammates both on and off the field.
My Elite Network: What do you think you bring to people?
Jeff Walker: I think what I most offer is my care for others. I am a “people person “and I’ve often been told that I don’t know a stranger. Ha, I genuinely love people and love helping to make a difference in others’ lives whenever possible. As a Christian, I think it’s what God expects of us. To love others unconditionally as HE loves us! Yes, it’s hard sometimes, but I am constantly striving to be good or better at this.
My Elite Network: When we run into each other at the local coffee shop, what will you be celebrating? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
Jeff Walker:I’ll have a triple shot breve’ latte’ with 2 pumps of vanilla! Ha, my favorite drink. Just kidding. I don’t know. That’s a great question. I hope God’s favor and blessing of health is still on me, because without that, there’s not much we can do. But, I hope and pray every day that God will open doors for me to speak all over and share my testimony and my love for Him. That’s really what I want more than anything. I have spoken locally, but if it’s His will, I want to take it to another level!!! That is truly my heart’s desire!
My Elite Network: Do you have a favorite quote that keeps you going?
Jeff Walker: That’s another tough question because there are so many great verses to choose from, but I love the five chapters in the Book of James. I go back to that often because there is so much good from that short book in the New Testament. In addition to the book of James, one that I go to or reflect on often, is Psalms 1. Where it says, “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law does he meditate day and night.” This is important to me because in the past I have made the mistake of making company or doing business with people who are not of like mind, or even engaging in business dealings with what I call un-Godly men when I was younger for monetary gains and it got me nowhere! So, I think there is great wisdom in these verses.
My Elite Network: So, what are you doing now?
Jeff Walker: As always, I've been self-employed. After football, I was working in real estate. I owned some fitness franchises and several other things. About three years ago, I went to work for Centurion Stone of Nashville. After working for them for a few months and learning the ropes, I started doing really well. We manufactured stone that goes in hotels or in custom homes. I have landed here and it's kind of like being self-employed because I work my own hours. I work hard, but I spend as much time as possible at the beach in Destin Florida.