Delanie Walker feels responsible for family DUI deaths

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Titans tight end Delanie Walker lost his aunt and his uncle in a car wreck that resulted in drunk-driving charges against Nechole Thomas.

But before he could become a crusader against the combination of alcohol and cars, he had to first change himself.

“When I speak to people, I tell them I’ve done it. I drank and drove,” Walker told Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. “Now that I look back at it, I feel that I was the person who killed my auntie and uncle. I always tell people that.

“I looked at myself and said, ‘How can I say I’m mad at this lady when I do the same thing?’ I had to change myself.”

Thomas was in court Wednesday, and was given a continuance on the two charges of vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated. But Walker’s priority now is educating his fellow players, and trying to change a culture where DUIs are more accepted than they should be.

And in his mind, that means convincing his fellow players that they are not, in fact, invincible.

“Cats want to drive their own cars,” Walker said. “They want to look fancy. We all want to look like we’re doing big things. If that takes us to drive our cars, get drunk and show off at the club, that’s what they do. I’ve done it before. That’s one thing we’ve got to stop. If you’ve got a driver, it looks better if you’re jumping out of the passenger side with a chauffeur opening the door for you saying, ‘Yes sir.’

“It’s going to be a while. It’s not going to change overnight. But hopefully everybody will start to understand we’ve got to be role models around here.”

The progress might be slow, but the only way it can be eventual is for more players to adopt Walker’s philosophy.

And he’s willing to keep working toward that goal.