As the leader of the vaunted 2021 Georgia defense, linebacker Quay Walker was a top prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Green Bay Packers picked the former Bulldog No. 22 overall, and Walker rewarded the fabled franchise by becoming a starter in his first season. However, twice in nationally televised Sunday night games, Walker got into unprovoked physical altercations with non-players and got ejected. The second time this happened, the Quay Walker ejection cost the Packers a playoff berth.
Quay Walker was ejected twice this season for pushing someone not wearing pads
Quay Walker had an excellent first NFL season. The first-round pick started 16 games, made 121 tackles, and had 1.5 sacks, a fumble recovery, three forced fumbles, and seven passes defended.
Despite all the good he did for the Packers defense, he also had two foolish moments that cost his team.
In a Week 8 Sunday Night Football game vs. the Buffalo Bills, Walker tumbled into the Bills while tackling Bills running back James Cook. A member of the Bills organization wearing street clothes seemed to try and help Walker up, and the LB whirled around and shoved the man.
Referee Ron Torbert penalized Walker for the push and ejected him from the game.
Fast forward to Week 18, and the Packers only needed a win vs. the Lions to miraculously get into the playoffs after their 3-6 start to the season. Up 16-13 with just under eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Walker shockingly earned another ejected for pushing a member of the Lions staff.
This time, it was a trainer trying to get by to tend to an injured player. When the Lions staff member tried to get by Walker, the rookie gave him a shove from behind. Walker again got the hook, which ultimately cost his team the game.
Making matters worse — as NBC announcer Cris Collinsworth pointed out on the broadcast — Walker shoved a trainer less than a week after the medical professionals at an NFL game saved the life of Bills safety Damar Hamlin after he went into cardiac arrest during Week 17 on Monday Night Football.
The rookie’s second ejection cost the Packers a playoff berth
In Week 8 vs. the Bills, the Quay Walker ejection wasn’t great, but it wasn’t season-changing. At the time, the Packers were 3-4, and the Bills took care of them with relative ease, winning the game comfortably, 27-17.
Walker’s record-setting second ejection for pushing a Lions trainer is a different story.
The stupid move happened with the Lions facing a 2nd-and-8 from the Green Bay 11-yard line. Walker’s 15-yard penalty gave Detroit a 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line, and three plays later, Lions RB Jamaal Williams scored what would become the game-winning touchdown.
Aaron Rodgers followed the touchdown with an interception, and the Lions got the ball back with under four minutes left in the game. Jared Goff and the Lions offense never gave the ball back, converting a 4th-and-1 in the final minute to get the (for them) meaningless win.
In a year that saw the New England Patriots make one of the most bone-headed plays in NFL history, the second Quay Walker ejection was way worse, given the moment and the stakes.