I got hurt the fourth day in camp; I dislocated my elbow. So I missed every preseason game and was really worried about getting cut. All I could do was continue to work hard. They let me practice later in camp, and I got an interception while wearing a brace. From that day on, my Coach was holding me out and telling me that he had a plan for me. He told me not to worry. I was rushing to come back and wanted to show them what I had. He told me to sit tight, not worry and that they had a plan for me. I just took his word on it. This is a business so I figured they'd be straight up with me. There was no need for me to worry. I continued to work hard and go to extra treatments every day. I wanted to get back as soon as possible. I studied my playbook so I could learn the defense. Here I am now, still fighting and struggling to hold on.
I knew from the start what kind of talent I had in front of me. Looking up at Will Allen and Will Peterson made it a lot easier not to play. Those guys are so good. My coach (Wayne Campbell) from back home told me not to be stressed out about playing. Sitting on the bench makes you work harder and harder. I used to talk to my coach back home every single day.
Unfortunately, Coach Campbell passed away during the bye week. He was a mentor to me all through college. He helped me get my life straight in every way. Once he passed, the only thing I had left was to talk to him through prayer. That's all I do now is pray and play. He was my college coach at Tuskegee and was like a father to me. Coach Fassel allowed me to miss one of the bye week practices so I could go to the funeral and check on his wife and kids.
I know that he's up in heaven smiling down on me. This guy, all he ever wanted to do was see me succeed. He knew I was against all odds at school.
Coach Campbell was really a very close part of me. He was a father, a big brother, an uncle; however you want to put it. He was everything to me. I also love the way all my coaches here treat me. They all take time out to make sure everyone understands what's going on. They don't care what round you were taken in. I really admire them for that.
Coming out of high school, I had about 25 or 30 scholarship offers; most of them were for black schools. But I wanted to stay home with my mother so I opted to go to Tuskegee. My sophomore year, there was a cornerback named Roosevelt Williams. He was a junior expected to start ahead of me. I really messed that up for them; I actually passed the senior expected to start and had him on the bench. The following year, Roosevelt Williams was drafted. Then my junior year, Drayton Florence, who got drafted in the second round by San Diego, came in. Between the two of us we had the number one passing defense in the entire nation.
After the season, (Giants scout) Jeremiah (Davis) came down to watch me. I had about 60 scouts there to watch my pro day because I didn't work out at the Combine. I ran a 4.34, had good body movement. I guess they liked me. Jeremiah told me he was surprised that I was still there in the sixth round. A lot of people told my agents that I'd go in the third or fourth round. Once the fifth round hit, I knew that I was going to make everyone who didn't take me pay for it. That's the mentality I have.
When I first left college, my main goal was to show them that it's not where you're from; it's what you do when you get there. I came in with that on my mind. I came here wanting to take someone's position. Once I got here, I realized it takes more than just talent. You also have to learn the defense, because everyone on this level has talent. I just wanted to get here, stay here and when it came time for me to make a play; I wanted to make the play.
I'd love to get into the starting lineup, but I'm content where I am right now. I like the role I have right now. I get to see what's going on. It's the coaches' call. It's my rookie season and I'm already doing a whole lot more than a lot of rookies are. I'm blessed right now. Wherever I line up, it's just about covering someone. Wherever they tell me to go, I'll go. I might not even play sometimes. Nothing's written in stone.
I'm a nasty corner. I'll step on you when you're down. I'm not the nice, friendly corner. I'm the 'I hate you' corner. That's just the way I am. I don't know why. I feel like if I relax, then you get a shot to get me. I always keep my guard up and always play hard. I was worse in college. They told me I'd get fined up here for some of the stuff I did in college. I did it all. I had a linebacker mentality in college.
Off the field, I'm a very generous guy. I like to give to the needy a lot. That's just how I am. I'm pretty outspoken and vocal. I'm a straight-forward type of guy. If you want the truth, I'm the guy to come to. I'm not going to sell anyone any dreams. That's just the way I've always been. Just don't cross the line with me. I'm not going to step on your toes, but I'm also not going to allow you to step on mine. Overall, I'm a great guy. I love all the guys in this locker room. I wouldn't trade my situation for the world. They've all taken me in and accepted me as a person. They call me Playmaker. And they call all the rookies the young gunners.
My toughness is what got me this far. That's the outlook I have on facing a receiver. I'm not frightened by any receiver. I don't buy into the media frenzy about a guy and how good he is. What's that have to do with me? He has to face me. He feels like he's the best; I feel like I'm the best. That's just the way it goes.
I've already put my big interception against Minnesota behind me. You're only as good as your last game. I have to come out each week and have a good showing. It was great that I got it, and it helped the team win. But now it's time to move on to the next one. I'm going to give that ball to my mother.
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