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Bills tight end Everett reportedly walking on his own after spinal cord injury

Kevin Everett is walking on his own at a Houston rehab center,
the latest significant progress by the Buffalo Bills tight end in
his remarkable recovery from a serious spinal cord injury.


"He doesn't have a full natural stride but, yeah, he's
walking,'' a person close to the family told The Associated Press
on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of
the sensitive nature of Everett's status.


The person said Everett has been walking under his own power
since his release from Memorial Hermann/TIRR three weeks ago and is
now an outpatient there. The person added Everett is picked up at
his Houston-area home by car to attend daily rehab sessions and is
able to walk to and from the facility.


"He's not driving or anything like that, but he is walking.
He's not running. He is walking,'' the person said.


Doctors initially feared he'd never walk again after what was
described as a life-threatening injury while making a tackle in the
Sept. 9 season opener against Denver. Everett was paralyzed from
the neck down when he arrived at Buffalo's Millard Fillmore Gates
Hospital and spent the first few days on life support.


The prognosis was far more positive a few days later when
Everett showed movement in his legs and arms and was sensitive to
touch. He improved so steadily during his first two weeks he was
transferred to Houston for the next stage of rehab.


Everett makes his offseason home there, and doctors felt it
important for him to be close to family and friends.


Bills punter Brian Moorman learned after practice that Everett
was walking.


"Any time we hear about something along those lines, it gives
you chills,'' he said. "We're always thinking about him, and we're
thrilled any time we hear about any progress. ... It's obviously a
good sign. We hope to see him personally sometime soon.''


Everett hasn't spoken publicly except through news releases and
in a videotaped statement that was broadcast before Buffalo's home
game against New England on Nov. 18.


"How are you doing Buffalo? This is Kevin Everett,'' Everett
said, during the brief message that was shown on TV and the Ralph
Wilson Stadium video scoreboard. "I just want to say, 'Come on,
let's beat the Patriots.'"


Upon his release from Memorial Hermann, Everett said in a
statement he was inspired after meeting many people that sustained
similar injuries.


"Their courage and determination inspired me to fight every day
for recovery of my ability to walk,'' Everett said. "While this
news is a significant milestone for me, I still have a long journey
to full recovery.''


Everett's recovery has been the NFL's most inspirational story
this season. And his presence has not been forgotten among Bills
fans, with many wearing his jersey or T-shirts with his No. 85 on
the back to home games.


The Bills' third-round draft pick in 2005, Everett is
soft-spoken and reserved and regarded highly by teammates and
friends.


"He's just every guy's teammate,'' Moorman had said after
Everett was hurt. "He's got such a great character, and it's
obvious. He's not a man of many words, but he doesn't need to speak
by words.''


Everett had been active in his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas.
Last summer, he hosted a football camp in which he charged no
admission, handed out T-shirts and made sure every youngster had a
ride to and from camp.


"He'd give you his last,'' said Kenny Harrison, who coached
Everett in high school. "His biggest deal was making sure every
kid that wanted to be a part the camp was able to be a part of it,
no exception.''