The Cowboys didn't waste any time filling the roster spot vacated by Kyle Orton on Wednesday, and today signed free agent tight end Dallas Walker, according to DallasCowboys.com.
Todd Archer of ESPNDallas reports that Walker worked out for the Cowboys in June along with fellow tight end Dominique Jones as well as guards DeMarcus Love and Garrett Reynolds.
Walker, 26, is the blocking tight end many observers have expected the Cowboys to sign, but the former Western Michigan Bronco has taken an unusual path to the NFL.
In 2007, Walker signed with Memphis as a quarterback and receiver after a high school career that included 800 yards receiving and 3,000 passing. He redshirted his first season, then moved to Georgia Military College, where he passed for 1,155 yards and 17 touchdowns before landing a scholarship at Western Michigan, where he was moved to tight end. And even though Western Michigan is known as a passing team, the tight ends there were mainly used as in-line, blocking tight ends. In his three years as a Bronco, Walker caught just 16 passes for 102 yards and four touchdowns.
Walker initially went undrafted in 2012, and did not catch on with any NFL team that year, not even as a UDFA. But that didn't deter Walker from pursuing a career in professional football. Walker briefly played for the Ultimate Indoor Football League's Georgia Rampage, but then attended the 2013 Super Regional Combine in Dallas, where he managed to impress the San Diego front office enough that they signed him to their offseason roster in April 2013. He was cut during final roster cuts at the end of the preseason that year.
The mothership lists him at 6-6 and "more than 235 pounds," other sources have him at 245 pounds. It's hard to say what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Walker, and he may end being little more than a camp body. But if nothing else, he knows how to persevere against long odds - and has a more interesting story and a more auspicious first name than most.