The Tennessee Titans were attracted to tight end Delanie Walker for all the reasons you would expect.
They're the same reasons San Francisco didn't want to see Walker go.
“I’m not happy to see him in a Titans ‘82’ jersey. He’s really playing well,” Jim Harbaugh, Walker's coach in 2011 and '12, said Wednesday. “On a personal level, I miss Delanie. Wish him a long and successful career and have great memories of him when we were teammates.
“But I know the competitor he is. I know the player he is. Our challenge, our task in defending him is high.”
That will be the 49ers aim on Sunday, when Walker hosts Harbaugh and his former team in their Week 7 matchup.
GALLERY: HISTORY OF 49ERS-TITANS MATCHUP
With his ability to play on the line of scrimmage, split out and in the backfield, there’s Walker's versatility. And, with his experience playing on the 49ers last two playoff teams, he has championship game wisdom to offer his new team.
“He’s what we thought he’d be,” Tennessee coach Mike Munchak said. “As we get into the second half of the season, I think he’ll put up even bigger numbers.”
Through Week 6, Walker has 20 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns – despite the fact that he missed the entire preseason due to knee surgery. He’s already one reception from his 2012 total and is on pace to shatter his single-season career high of 29 grabs in 2010.
The tall task Harbaugh outlined is likely to fall on the shoulders of inside linebackers
“It’s going to be weird,” Whitner said. “But in the NFL, you see guys come, you see guys go. It’ll be weird at first, but then our competitive nature comes out. We want to beat him just like he wants to beat us.”
This much was made clear on Monday. Speaking to the media in Tennessee, Walker said he was excited to face his old team and noted the absences of 2012 stalwarts Dashon Goldson and
“They got some weak points,” Walker said. “I feel like, if we can get started early, I think we can beat them.”
- READ: Kaepernick Steps up, Explains Foot Injury
- WATCH: Manningham Not Expecting to Play Sunday
- READ: CB Wright Makes 49ers Practice Debut
- READ: DT Jerod-Eddie Becoming ‘Trusted Agent’
- LISTEN: Titans Coach Munchak on Stopping Kaepernick
- READ: Whitner ‘Playing Better’ in 2013
- READ: RB James Remains in San Francisco’s Plans
- VIEW: Gold Rush Calendar Sneak Peek