Kenny Walker (American football)
|Date of birth||April 6, 1967|
|Place of birth||Crane, Texas|
|College||University of Nebraska|
|NFL draft||1991 / Round: 8 / Pick: 200|
|2010||Gallaudet University Bison (Defensive Line)|
|1995-1996||Winnipeg Blue Bombers|
Kenny Wayne Walker (born April 6, 1967) is a former defensive lineman for the Denver Broncos and the first deaf player to have played in the Canadian Football League and one of only three to have played in the National Football League.
The youngest of six children, at the age of two, Walker became profoundly deaf from a bout with meningitis. He is the second of only three deaf players in the history of the National Football League. Bonnie Sloan, who played in the 1970s, and Derrick Coleman of the Seattle Seahawks are the other deaf NFL players.
Walker starred at the University of Nebraska, playing in the Senior Bowl in January 1991. At his final home game at Nebraska, the capacity crowd showed their appreciation for Walker by signing "applause" to him in unison. Three months after the Senior Bowl, the Broncos selected him in the eighth round (200th overall) of the 1991 NFL Draft.
He emerged as a regular for the Broncos in 1991, playing in all 16 games. The following year, he started in all but one of the team's games, but his career ended after that. Following his time in the NFL, Walker played a short, three-season stint in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders (1994-1995) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1995-1996), becoming the first deaf player in the history of the CFL. Additionally, Walked sued the Denver Broncos in 1995 for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by misrepresenting the his disability to other NFL teams. The outcome of the suit was not reported.
Walker published an autobiography “Roar of Silence: The Kenny Walker Story” in 1998, and also has a chapter dedicated to him in the book "Great Deaf Americans."
In September 2010, Walker was hired as the defensive line coach for Gallaudet University, a private college for the deaf that plays football in NCAA Division III. He would leave this position after only one season with the Gallaudet Bisons. Prior to this, Walker was a coach and counselor at the Iowa School for the Deaf.
ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia, 2006 edition
Big Red Network
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