Football was a way out for Walker

Get to know Steelers defensive tackle Cavon Walker

Cavon Walker
Defensive Tackle
University of Maryland

Most entertaining person you follow on social media? There are a few. It would be one of my friends that I grew up with. He is always posting the best memes. I am going to leave his name out though.

Must have food? I am going to go with Chipotle. I am actually on my way there now. I love Chipotle. That is my biggest vice right now.

Must see show? Rick and Morty, the cartoon.

Morning person or night owl? I am kind of both. I am a morning person because no matter what time I wake up I accept I am up and I am ready to go. I also stay up late. Football has trained me to wake up early, so it's turned me into both.

Who is your football mentor or inspiration? My big brother. He is the one who got me started playing football when I was in middle school. I always wanted to be a basketball player, but it turned out I wasn't going to be 6' 10". I came from a little bit of a rough neighborhood, so he made sure I stayed away from the neighborhood during the weekends. I trained with him. He knew I was a fast guy, he said use your speed in a good way. He always made sure I was good.

What motivates you? My family is my biggest motivator. My family and my friends. I have some guys around me who are my brothers who aren't blood, and my family always pushes me to be better and good. Everything I do is for my family and those guys I care about.

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What is your football mindset/approach? Every day is a workday. You go out there, you put your film on, put your helmet on, you bring your lunch bag. It's all about getting ready to work and being prepared to work at all times.

When did you start to dream about playing in the NFL? I started to dream about it my sophomore year when I stopped playing basketball and just played football. That is when the dream started to become a reality.

How did you know you could make that move to football from basketball? Just talking to the people around me. They told me how I could grow into my frame. Looking at me now, nobody imagined me being this big. My sophomore year in high school I was 180 pounds to leaving college I was 285 pounds. Understanding and listening to people's critiques showed me I can do the things I needed to do.

Why do you play football? It gave me my first outlet to be aggressive without getting in any type of trouble. Football gave me a way to let go of aggression in a positive manner and have people cheer me on while I do it.

You mentioned the way you grew up, what was life like for you growing up? I am from Southeast D.C. Most people know about that area. My mom was a single mother of five who worked from 7 in the morning to 7 at night. Most of the day it was me and my brothers and sisters raising each other. But she did a great job when she came home, making sure we were good, had our homework done. I grew up around a lot of guys who were in the streets. I was the guy who stayed away from things because they said you have a shot. Make sure you do what you have to do. I was always thankful for that. I knew what was going on but wasn't forced to be in it because I had people who kept me away from those situations.

Was it hard to resist the temptation? Of course. It's always hard. You want to be around your friends in the neighborhood. My brother did a good job of taking me away from the neighborhood on the weekends and doing football stuff instead of just being outside where anything could happen at any time.

What is your proudest football moment or memory? Winning the championship my first time in my senior year of high school. I had been to the playoffs and championship game before that and lost every single time. Doing it my senior year was a magical moment, especially with the coaches and teammates I was with.

You played in the XFL this past season. What was the experience like? That was some of the most fun I had playing football in a long time. Being out there with those guys, those coaches, we took everything seriously. It was fun being there. I enjoyed the whole process of getting back where I wanted to be.

What was it like when the XFL season shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic? It came out of nowhere. It was the middle of the week. You could see things starting to happen. One of the guys on the Seattle team tested positive. We were thinking he played around other guys, something had to be up. We sat there and played it by ear. From Wednesday until Friday, things just stopped. We had our last practice on Thursday and on Friday were booking our flights to go home.

When you hear Steelers football, what do you think? I think great defense, tradition. I think Wiz Khalifa 'Black and Yellow.' I think strong men playing great defense and downhill ball. Even on the offensive side, Big Ben (Roethlisberger) has been around the league for a long time. I watched him when I was younger. Being around these guys is going to do nothing but push me harder.

What did you learn about yourself during quarantine? I learned I don't like being alone a lot. It's always cool having your alone time when you want it, but when it's forced upon you, you learn it's always good to have at least one person to talk to.

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