Friends pay respects to NFL cornerback Tray Walker

Miami's Baltimore Ravens' cornerback was 23


MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – Tray "Fresh Kidd" Walker's loved ones surrounded a casket -- decorated with the Baltimore Ravens purple icon, his number and pictures from his NFL rookie season --Saturday.  

The 23-year-old's cousin Jeffrey Taylor, his childhood friend Demetrius Allen, former Miami Northwestern teammate Minnesota Vikings' Teddy Bridgewater and Baltimore Ravens' teammates -- Anthony Levine, Kamar Aiken, Timmy Jernigan, Jimmy Smith and Matt Elam -- were among the several hundred who attended.

They filled the 93rd Street Community Baptists Church. Walker was buried with his Ravens' No. 25 jersey. There were flowers and football helmets from the Ravens, Texas Southern and Miami Northwestern, laid out over his casket. 

"It hurts so bad, " his sister Shaquita Hardy said. He died on her birthday.  

The Baltimore Ravens shared a tweet: "For Tray. May you always look down on us from above."

Team owner Steve Bisciotti, the team's general manager Ozzie Newsome, Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, and several Texas Southern University employees were also there to pay their respects. 

"The first thing I noticed was the smile, the big Tray Walker smile," Harbaugh said. "That smile can light up a room."

And after sharing an anecdote about the Miami boy's struggles with snow, Harbaugh added, "Tray Walker, we love you and we are going to miss you."

A service at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Miami's Liberty City was held Friday.

Walker "did not live a sad life," said Dionne Pollock, his Godmother, during the service. "Trust me, you are holding your head up for Tray."

Walker was determined. He worked hard to be able to graduate from high school and got only one scholarship offer. He took it and made the most of it. Walker made his family and friends proud after graduating from Texas Southern University and getting drafted in 2015. 

He played in eight games, while he was aiming to become a starting cornerback. He had dedicated his rookie season to his dad, Tom Walker, who died in 2014.

Walker died March 18 at Jackson Memorial Hospital, a day after suffering head injuries during a collision with an SUV, while riding his motorbike without a helmet. 

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