Hours after Washington Commanders Coach Ron Rivera announced that linebacker Tre Walker decided to abruptly retire on Friday, the rookie changed his mind and was reinstated to the team, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Walker, an unregistered player from the University of Idaho, was unable to attend practice on Friday due to his short retirement. The decision came as a surprise and a blow to the team’s linebacking corps, which were already thin after the loss co-designed rookie Drew White suffered to an ACL injury.
“He said it was something he had thought about and there are some things he wanted to get back to,” Rivera said of Walker on Friday morning. “So he decided it was time to move on. … He’s a man we had some hopes for, but unfortunately he decided it was time to move on. We want to wish him all the best.”
But later that day, Walker decided otherwise and spoke to Rivera about returning, according to the person who was aware of the matter, who spoke anonymously to talk freely about the situation. In Friday’s NFL transaction report, he was on the reserve/retired list for the commanders. But the team will keep its rights for the rest of his contract so it can get him back.
Walker’s return was likely a welcome development, given Washington’s depth at linebacker. Rivera said Friday morning that, in Walker’s absence, the team should probably look into adding a new linebacker to the space for competition. Behind starting middle linebacker Cole Holcomb, the team has former first-round pick Jamin Davis, veteran David Mayo and young reserves in Khaleke Hudson, Bryce Notree, De’Jon Harris, Milo Eifler.
But with Walker expected to practice with the rest of the team at FedEx Field Saturday night, the Commanders’ defense is getting another promising player back.