Walker embraces new challenges with Bills

Updated: March 27, 2007, 6:41 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- When the Philadelphia Eagles signed free agent defensive tackle Montae Reagor last week, Darwin Walker knew he was on his way out.

Walker was happy to find himself a member of the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday, a day after being part of a three-player trade that sent disgruntled linebacker Takeo Spikes to the Eagles.

Darwin Walker

"As far as I'm concerned, this is the best situation for me and I'm looking forward to it," Walker said during a conference call.

Noting that he had asked to be traded, Walker said: "At this point in my career, I think being able to come in to a young team and try to help it any way I can will be beneficial to the team and myself."

A seven-year NFL veteran, Walker is a penetrating tackle that fits the mold of a Bills defensive front that is being asked to do more than just stop the run.

He's coming off a solid season in which he had 36 tackles and six sacks in 15 starts, and added two more sacks in a 27-24 loss to New Orleans in an NFC second-round playoff game. Overall, the former third-round draft pick out of Tennessee has at least 2 sacks in each of his past five seasons, including a career-high 7 in 2002.

As part of the trade, the Bills also acquired a conditional pick in next year's draft, while dealing journeyman backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb.

Walker, who has two years left on his contract, said he has no bitter feelings toward the Eagles, noting the team attempted but failed to negotiate an extension with him last year.

"I think I'm looking forward to my new situation now, and I don't want to cry over spilled beans," he said.

Listed at 6 feet 3 and 294 pounds, Walker is expected to rotate with fellow veteran starter Larry Tripplett. They'll play alongside a group of young tackles; Kyle Williams, who's coming off a strong rookie season, and John McCargo, the second of Buffalo's two first-round picks last year. McCargo missed most of his rookie season with a broken foot.

Walker provides Buffalo another pass-rushing threat to go along with a trio of defensive ends that combined for 25 sacks last season, led by Aaron Schobel's career-high 14.

The Bills hope the added sack presence will take the pressure off a young defensive backfield, which started two rookies last season, and will need to replace star cornerback Nate Clements, who signed with San Francisco earlier this month.

Buffalo, however, still needs to address its run defense, which finished 28th in yards allowed last season, and to compensate for a suddenly depleted linebacking group that's lost two starters: Spikes and London Fletcher, who has signed with Washington.

"I don't know a lot about what the Bills did last year," Walker said, referring to the team's run defense. "The only thing I know is that I want to come in and make this team better."

Walker, who has appeared in 12 playoff games, also brings a young team some valuable big-game experience.

"I just want to bring some of that success and let it rub off for me in Buffalo," Walker said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press