Baltimore Ravens' Tray Walker killed in dirt bike accident

By The Sports Xchange   |   March 19, 2016 at 4:03 AM

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tray Walker died Friday from injuries sustained in a dirt bike accident. He was 23.

According to the NFL Network, he died at 5 p.m. ET. The Ravens confirmed his death with a picture of Walker on their Twitter account with the following message:

"We are grieving the loss of a special young man. #RIPTrayWalker"

Walker reportedly suffered serious head injuries and spent the entire night in surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after Thursday night's accident. He collided with a Ford Escape at an intersection in Miami, according to a news release distributed by the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Police stated Walker was riding without lights and wearing dark clothing at the time of the accident. He also wasn't wearing a helmet.

Police are still investigating the collision.

Agent Ron Butler told ESPN on Friday morning that Walker was believed to be riding recreationally in Liberty City, Fla., with another NFL player. Butler does not know the name of the other player.

"I think it was more recreational riding but I don't know everything," Butler said. "I just know they were kind of joy-riding. ... For Tray, it's unfortunate. He's got such a promising career. He was doing all the right things to try to turn himself into a great pro. The Ravens are a first-class organization, surrounding him with the right people."

A native of Miami, Walker attended Miami Northwestern High School, and the accident occurred roughly three miles from the school.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was among the people in the Baltimore organization who was devastated by Walker's death.

"Tray was a young man with a good and kind heart," Harbaugh said in a statement."He was humble and loved everything about being part of the Ravens' team. He loved his teammates, the practice and the preparation, and that showed every day. He was coachable, did his most to improve and worked to become the best. I'll never forget that smile. He always seemed to be next to me during the national anthem; then we would give each other a big hug. May he rest in the Peace of Christ Jesus forever."

Quarterback Joe Flacco was having trouble understanding the events of the previous 24 hours.

"Tray was a young man who was full of energy and promise," Flacco said in a statement. "This is very hard to wrap my head around, and I am devastated. As a parent, I cannot imagine what his family is going through right now. All of my thoughts are with them. My hope is that we can be a little bit of help by being a second family for them."

Cornerback Jimmy Smith was in daily meetings with Walker during the season and crushed by his death.

"This is such a tragedy, and I am praying for Tray's family. He was a tremendous young man with so much potential, and I will miss him. Tray had a hard shell, but once you broke through that, you found a person who was learning how to become a man and was so eager to be a great person and professional. I am heartbroken for his family."

Earlier Friday, while Walker was fighting for his life, Harbaugh wrote an open letter to the team.

"That was the kind of phone call you never want get as a coach, as a parent, as a brother, as a friend," Harbaugh wrote. "This shook me and all of us.

"There is a lot going on out there and you are going to be involved in tough and difficult situations. You are making and will continue to make important choices pretty much every day. That's okay. That's our reality. It can even be very good to be put in different circumstances. To make it right, you are going to have to grow up fast. Probably faster than many of your friends and family."

Walker, a 2015 fourth-round draft pick, played in eight games for the Ravens last season, mostly on special teams.

Walker dedicated his rookie season to his father, who died of a heart attack in 2014. The family spread the ashes of Walker's father off the coast of Miami one day after Walker was drafted -- on his father's birthday.

Walker played college football at Texas Southern. Among his high school teammates were NFL players Teddy Bridgewater and Amari Cooper.

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