Oklahoma football: Casey Walker said absence for 'personal issues' is in the past

The senior defensive tackle is ready for his last trip down the Cotton Bowl tunnel for the Red Rivalry
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: October 10, 2012

NORMAN — Casey Walker never considered giving up football.

During the few weeks he took off for personal issues during the start of the season, he saw his “brothers” out there struggling. His departure came at a time when so many other alarms were ringing in the Oklahoma locker room, with the indefinite suspension of Stacy McGee, as well as the injuries and departures to the offensive line.

Walker watched as senior defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland and defensive end David King took every snap. But in the first game against UTEP, the defense didn't give up any points. Florida A&M managed just one touchdown in the Sooners' next game.

Now that a month has passed, Walker, a senior defensive lineman, has put everything that came before the Kansas State game behind him.

Walker said he never debated whether to keep on playing. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Walker's absence was not due to a football-related injury. When the news first came out and reporters asked if Walker remained healthy through fall camp, Stoops replied, “For the most part.”

Walker talked to the media this week for the first time since he took his personal leave and confirmed it wasn't anything “physically wrong.”

He followed with, “That's kind of in the past.”

That's what his mother, Natalie Pipken, said when asked about the rumors that were swirling around her son.

“Oh, that's in the past,” Pipken said. “We've already moved forward.”

Forward to Kansas State, Walker's first game back, where he said he played the entire game. Forward to Texas Tech, where the 6-foot-3, 309-pounder was named one of the defensive players of the game by the team.

Forward to Dallas, where the Texas Longhorns and running back Joe Bergeron are hoping to run down the OU defense.

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by Stephanie Kuzydym
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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