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Titans' Delanie Walker calls out league for disrespecting him

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Music stars are littered around Nashville, so it's easy for the world to forget that the Tennessee Titans have their own star in Delanie Walker wreacking havoc every Sunday.

As Walker continues to carry the potentially playoff-bound Titans past some offensive struggles, it's time for everyone to recognize him as one of the NFL's best tight ends and most dangerous weapons. Walker demands it.

"I'm very disrespected in the league," Walker said. "Commentators, announcers don't talk about me. I get double and triple coverage. I'm still making plays. Nobody talks about that. That drives me. Don't talk about me. That makes me hungry. They talk about Gronk, Kelce, but not me. I do it every week. They don't talk about Delanie Walker."

"Obviously, I don't get talked about enough around the league. Probably because I play for the Titans, but the Titans are going to get talked about this year."

Walker speaks like a man who still feels he has a lot to prove, even at 33. Opposing defenses respect him. As the Titans loaded up with more offensive talent, Walker has remained the No. 1 priority for any team that plays them. It's often comical to watch two players shadow him when he goes into his pre-snap motion.

Take a look at this grab he made despite three trailing and an additional over-the-top Indianapolis Colts defender last week. That type of coverage isn't an anomaly.

"I'm always open. Can't no one cover me," Walker said.

Walker is third among NFL tight ends with 676 receiving yards following Sunday's games, trailing Kansas City's Travis Kelce and New England's Rob Gronkowski. What's even more impressive is Walker's consistency. He has at least 800 receiving yards in each of his past three full seasons (2014-16). He also has 3,454 receiving yards since 2014, third-most among tight ends, less than 300 behind Gronkowski and Kelce.

Walker also leads the Titans in receptions and receiving yards, something he has done in previous seasons. He remains a strong blocker and vocal leader, too.

"It's a privilege to play with that guy," Marcus Mariota said. "He's a special talent, an unbelievable competitor."

Titans head coach Mike Mularkey added: "I'm just glad he's ours, and I love everything about him."

So when the Titans needed a playmaker to lift their offense after another sluggish start against the Houston Texans on Sunday, they leaned on Walker. He responded with three catches for 55 yards and a touchdown. On a third-and-14, Mariota found Walker on a short pass intended to gain a few yards to get them into field goal range. Walker made two guys miss and willed himself near the first-down marker. Two plays later, he caught a 24-yard touchdown dragging a defender into the end zone and re-injuring a sprained ankle in the process.

"I'm an angry person on the field," Walker said. "I always tell Marcus, 'I got your back. Whenever you're in dire need, throw it to me.' I get mad when I'm not making plays. I feel like this is my team and I'm going to put them on my back. I take that responsibility -- win or lose."

Walker has been the biggest bright spot on a Titans offense trying to find its way. He has strong arguments to be the Titans' best free-agent pickup ever and best all-time tight end, with Frank Wycheck being his top competition.

If the Titans have postseason success, Walker will be a big reason why. He hopes that by then people will put him in his rightful place as one of the NFL's best.