PJ Walker found out just hours before kickoff that he’d be starting his first NFL game for the Carolina Panthers, but his mom envisioned the moment years ago.
“It’s crazy because I didn’t actual envision this start, my mom did,” Walker said after the Panthers 20-0 win over Detroit. “About a year and a half ago, two years ago, she called me, and she was like ‘I had a dream that you were playing with the Panthers.’ I was with the Colts still at the time so I’m like ‘really? That’s weird with me being in Indianapolis at the moment.’ And life has just come full circle.”
Her dream came true. Mine did too today.
Walker took what some may call the “scenic route” to NFL starting quarterback. A four-year letter winner at Temple University under head coach Matt Rhule, PJ holds Temple’s all-time records in nearly every passing category, including yards (10,668), touchdowns (74) and completions (830). He led Temple to back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016 and back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time ever.
Walker went un-drafted in 2018, but signed with the Colts in May of that year, where he saw significant action during the preseason, but didn’t survive final cuts. PJ spent the entire regular season on and off the Colts practice squad.
In 2019, Walker played with the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL, where he impressed – starting all five games and leading the league in passing touchdowns (15) and passing yards (1,338). PJ and Rhule reunited in March when he signed a 2-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.
So what words of advice did Walker’s clairvoyant mom have ahead of Sunday’s game? You Belong.
“She just told me to go be me. Just go play the game. This is something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life, so for her to just give me words of encouragement just to go out there and not think the moment is too big – just go out there and do what you do. You belong here, that’s something she always told me – you belong at this place. So, just go make the best of it.”