Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is officially inactive for Week 11, which makes way for P.J. Walker to start his first NFL game on Sunday. Walker last played a full football game eight months ago for the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Panthers‘ new starting QB.
P.J. Walker was a dynamic QB at Temple
P.J. Walker wasn’t a well-known name in college, but he tore up the American Athletic Conference in his four tears at Temple. He threw for 2,084 yards and 20 touchdowns as a freshman in 2013, and he added 332 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Walker finished his four-year college career with 10,668 passing yards, 771 rushing yards, and 83 total touchdowns. He left Temple as arguably the best quarterback in school history. Walker’s 10,668 career passing yards are the most by an Owl in the history of the program. Henry Burris had the next highest with 7,495.
Walker’s 74 career passing touchdowns is also a Temple record.
Walker impressed in the XFL earlier this year
Even after an impressive college career at Temple, Walker went undrafted in 2017. The Indianapolis Colts signed Walker as an undrafted free agent after the draft, but they waived him before the season and added him to the practice squad immediately after.
Walker spent a year on the Colts’ practice squad before ultimately getting cut in 2018. With his dream of playing in the NFL looking bleak, Walker took his talents to the XFL for the 2020 season.
The QB was drafted by the Houston Roughnecks earlier this year, and he was incredible during his short stint with the team. Walker led Houston to a 5-0 record in the XFL, throwing for 1,338 yards and 15 touchdowns along the way. He also added 99 yards and a touchdown with his legs.
Walker led the XFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns during the shortened 2020 season. He was well on his way to a league MVP before the season was canceled in March. That’s the last time Walker made a start in a professional football game.
Walker will make his first NFL start for the Panthers on Sunday
After the XFL canceled its 2020 season, Walker was one of the few players NFL teams were interested in adding. A few weeks after his final XFL game, Walker landed with the Carolina Panthers on a two-year contract.
Walker was expected to sit behind starting QB Teddy Bridgewater and maybe contribute to the offense with his legs this season, but he’ll be the star of the show this Sunday. With Bridgewater officially inactive, Walker will get his first NFL start in Week 11.
Walker’s journey back to the NFL sure is an inspiring one. After getting cut by the Colts in 2018, Walker’s chances of playing a single snap in the league seemed grim. But an impressive showing in the XFL gave Walker another chance, and he’ll have the opportunity to prove he belongs in the NFL this Sunday.