Tray Walker had a promising future as a Baltimore Ravens cornerback before a traffic accident cut his life short.
On Saturday, hundreds of loved ones, several teammates and other NFL pros gathered to bid farewell to the young man, who was buried in a casket adorned with his team’s mascot and his number “23” on the exterior with a Louis Vuitton interior, at the 93rd Street Community Baptist Church in his hometown of Miami.
“The thing I loved the most about this guy, this young man, was that Tray Walker smile,” Raven head coach John Harbaugh said at the service. “That smile could light up a room.”
The 23-year-old was wearing dark clothing and no helmet on the evening of March 17, when he was riding a white Honda dirt bike and was then critically injured after being struck by an SUV that 62-year-old Donzetta Coaxum was driving.
Coaxum stayed on the scene until paramedics arrived to transport Walker to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The NFL rookie died the following day from his injuries.
He was drafted in the fourth round to the Ravens in 2015 and only played in eight games, primarily on special teams, during his only NFL season.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Walker's former teammate at Miami Northwestern Senior High School, was also in attendance Saturday.
“His NFL career had just begun,” Bridgewater said outside the church. “Football was an outlet for us. That’s how it is for a lot of us down here.”
Days after Walker’s death, Bridgewater paid tribute to his longtime friend on Instagram, writing, “Today we lost more than an athlete, we lost a son, a brother, a teammate, a classmate, a friend, and a GREAT person. You proved that something positive can come out of Miami Northwestern and off of 71st Street.”
At Saturday’s funeral, Walker’s godmother Dionne Pollock said, “Don’t cry for him. He lived his life. He beat the odds. He graduated from high school. He was going to make a difference in somebody’s life with his diploma.”
Video of the funeral from The Miami Herald is below.
(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)