MIAMI: Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tray Walker died Friday (Saturday in Manila) from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Florida, the NFL team said.
“We are grieving the loss of a special young man. #RIPTrayWalker” the Ravens said in a posting on their Twitter account that included a picture of the 23-year-old player.
Walker’s agent Ronald Butler told US media that Walker was pronounced dead at 5 pm Eastern time at Jackson Memorial Hospital, less than 24 hours after he suffered head injuries in a dirt bike accident not far from where he attended high school at Miami Northwestern.
Hours earlier, Butler had told ESPN that Walker was “fighting for his life”.
Walker, a fourth-round pick in last year’s NFL Draft, played in eight games for the Ravens last season and competed mostly on special teams kicking plays, contributing one solo tackle from scrimmage.
He had dedicated his rookie NFL campaign to his father, who died of a heart attack in November of 2014.
Thursday’s accident remains under investigation.
Detective Dan Ferrin of the Miami-Dade Police Department said Walker was riding his dirt bike on a road when he collided with an SUV. Police said Walker wasn’t wearing a helmet and his dirt bike did not have lights.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh offered a warm tribute to the young player.
“Tray was a young man with a good and kind heart,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “He was humble and loved everything about being part of the Ravens’ team. He loved his teammates, the practice and the preparation, and that showed every day. He was coachable, did his most to improve and worked to become the best. I’ll never forget that smile.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco offered condolences to Walker’s family.
“Tray was a young man who was full of energy and promise,” Flacco said in a statement. “This is very hard to wrap my head around, and I am devastated. As a parent, I cannot imagine what his family is going through right now. All of my thoughts are with them.”
Jimmy Smith, another cornerback who worked closely with Walker during the season, said he was heartbroken for Walker’s family.
“He was a tremendous young man with so much potential, and I will miss him,” Smith said. “Tray had a hard shell, but once you broke through that, you found a person who was learning how to become a man and was so eager to be a great person and professional.”