For a brief time Sunday, Delanie Walker had a share of a franchise record.
By the end of the Tennessee Titans’ 43-13 rout of the Cleveland Browns, the veteran tight end had the mark all to himself.
Walker’s second touchdown of the contest was his 28with the Titans, the most by a tight end in franchise history. Frank Wycheck held the previous mark of 27, which Walker tied when he scored his first against the Browns with 12:32 to play in the contest. The record-breaker came 3:29 later.
Of course, he entered last season one shy of Wycheck’s record as well and sustained a season-ending ankle injury in the opener before he ever caught a pass. So in a way, the 28was a long time coming.
“It felt great,” Walker said. “I’m not even going to lie to you – it felt great to be on this field and then get two touchdowns in my first game back, it felt amazing.”
A rundown of the most career touchdown receptions by a Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers tight end:
Delanie Walker (2013-present)
Frank Wycheck (1995-03)
Bob McLeod (1961-66)
Dave Casper (1980-83)
Mike Barber (1976-81)
Walker is now tied with wide receiver Nate Washington for the most touchdown catches by a player whose time with the team was exclusively during the Titans era (1999-present) and for eighth all-time for the franchise.
Of the top seven, only wide receiver Derrick Mason (sixth with 37) also played during that span. Two, including leader Charley Hennigan (51), played when the Houston Oilers were in the American Football League.
“Whenever you get the ball in (Walker’s) hands he makes plays,” quarterback Marcus Mariota said. “I appreciate that journey for him – how long it took to get back – I’m glad he got a little redemption.”
Walker finished the day as the Titans’ leader with five receptions on six targets. The three catches that did not result in a touchdown went for first downs, including one for 10 yards on Tennessee’s first offensive snap.
“I just have to thank everyone that was on the field,” Walker said. “They did their jobs. If it wasn’t for Marcus Mariota and the offensive line, (Henry) running the ball, the receivers running their routes, I wouldn’t have that opportunity. So I have to thank them and the confidence that the coaches have in me – and the GM and everyone in this organization. I feel blessed just to be back and to have that opportunity.
“… If the play gets called, I’m going to answer. My number got called and I answered.”
It wasn’t the first time.