Walker has been productive on the field, averaging more than 100 tackles over the past three seasons. However, where he might make the biggest impact is in the locker room, which his former teammate Darius Leonard pointed out after the signing.
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“Well I’m about to cry,” Leonard wrote on Twitter in response to the signing before going more in depth on what kind of player the Browns will be getting. “Amazing player man, he does everything the right way! It sucks that he’s leaving but Cleveland is gaining a Dawg! He’s a great leader and he’s going to lead your defense to be great! I will truly miss him! I give him a lot of credit for my success! I wouldn’t be me without him!”
Amazing player man, he does everything the right way! It sucks that he’s leaving but Cleveland is gaining a Dawg! He’s a great leader and he’s going to lead your defense to be great! I will truly miss him! I give him a lot of credit for my success! I wouldn’t be me without him!
— Darius Leonard (@dsleon45) March 19, 2021
Colts cornerback Kenny Moore also chimed in on social media on the signing.
“Gonna miss you, AWalk. dawg for life,” he wrote on Twitter. “You’ll never understand the affect a teammate can have on another.”
you’ll never understand the affect a teammate can have on another.
— Kenny Moore II (@KennyKennyMoe3) March 19, 2021
Walker responded to Moore with a tweet of his own expressing his love and appreciation for his now-former teammate “K Mo.”
K Mo. You know what it is! Always love my guy! Appreciate you for everything! Definitely taught me a lot of thing but dancing wasn’t one 😂😂. We still working on that lol. But Love you My guy! Keep Being ELITE! @KennyKennyMoe3 https://t.co/Z0PZxC5aLx
— Anthony Walker Jr. (@__AWalkJr) March 19, 2021
Browns Fill Need With Walker at Linebacker
Walker was a fifth-round pick in 2017 and moved into a starting role during his second season in the league. He’s notched a pair of 100 tackle seasons, including 124 in 2019. He also has a trio of interceptions in his career.
He joins a young linebacker room that includes 2019 draftees Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki, as well as Jacob Phillips, who Cleveland selected in the third round last year. The Browns also decided to retain former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, signing him to a one-year deal earlier this week.
“I think the prospects at success are what had me most excited,” Smith said in a video call with local reporters, according to a post on the Browns website. “There’s a level of familiarity here. It was about making the best decision for my family too, as far as taking them to Cleveland and what I saw from being in the city.”
At 32 years old, Smith will be the elder statesman in the linebacker group.
“We’re going to add some pieces and develop the guys that we have,” he said. “There’s going to be a learning curve for certain situations, but we’re not going to be starting at the basics for everybody. That foundational growth should help us reach another level.
“For me, it’s just about being happy, going out there and enjoying every step of the way,” he said. “[I]’ll be 32 years old in football and have an opportunity to play at this level. I’m thankful.”
Browns Continue to Add to Defensive Haul in Free Agency
Walker is the latest new face on the defensive side of the ball for the Browns. The team has also inked safety John Johnson, cornerback Troy Hill and defensive end Takk McKinley during this free agency period, bolstering the unit.
“I felt like it was an opportunity of a lifetime,” Johnson told reporters Friday, per the Browns official site. “(I’m) coming into a situation where things are moving in the right direction. That’s rare in this business. It’s rare that people care about you, appreciate you and want to do things the right way.
“This city as a whole, let alone this organization, it drips that.”
The Browns could still choose to add a veteran pass-rusher to join the rotation with McKinley opposite of Myles Garrett. Jadeveon Clowney and Carlos Dunlap are two names still on the market that the Browns could decide to pursue.