Allen Park — The Detroit Lions might have only won three games during the 2021 season, but they managed to net player of the week honors from each of those victories.
First it was quarterback Jared Goff, after he led a game-winning drive, throwing his third touchdown of the day as time expired to beat the Minnesota Vikings, 29-27. Then, two weeks later, kicker Riley Patterson was the conference’s special teams player of the week after making all three of his field goal attempts, as well as three extra points, in Detroit’s 30-12 drubbing of Arizona.
Now, following Sunday’s season-ending win over the Green Bay Packers, safety Tracy Walker has been named the NFC defensive player of the week.
In the contest, Walker set his career-high with 14 tackles, while putting the finishing touches on the victory with his first interception since Week 1 of the 2019 season. He finished the year with a personal-best 108 tackles.
A third-round draft pick in 2018, it also marked the final game of his rookie contract. He’s scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March.
During his season wrap-up press conference on Tuesday, Lions GM Brad Holmes praised Walker’s season, suggesting the team would love to retain him, saying he fits what the Lions are about.
“Tracy had already been with us obviously, but a new scheme, a new regime, new coaching staff, and he responded well,” Holmes said. “He really did. I thought he played good football for us and he really bought into everything that we’re doing. I was really happy for him.”
Walker is the Lions first defensive player to win player of the week honors since cornerback Darius Slay in 2018. In that Week 14 contest, he returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown and broke up two other passes in a 17-3 win over Arizona.