The San Francisco 49ers will have to find another tight end to replace a versatile talent.
Seven-year veteran Delanie Walker, a sixth-round selection in 2006, has moved on from the team that drafted him to the Tennessee Titans.
Walker reportedly agreed to a four-year contract during the first day of free agency. The move was bittersweet for the tight end who caught 123 passes for 1,465 yards and eight touchdowns for the 49ers.
Walker wanted to be a No. 1 tight end and felt like it was his time to showcase his talents to a greater degree.
"I was excited," Walker told 95.7 The Game of Tennessee's offer. "It was a team that believed in what I can do and wanted to give me the opportunity to show what I can do."
Walker said the 49ers, Cardinals, Eagles and Bills all showed interest, but in the end, Tennessee "came correct."
As for leaving the 49ers, Walker admitted it a tough decision because of the bonds he's formed in a tight-knit locker room. It was also tough to move away from close friend, Vernon Davis, San Francisco's starting tight end.
"I really wanted to come back to them," Walker said. "But at the same time, I felt like I could be a starter somewhere else."
Davis and many 49ers congratulated Walker on social media. They also reached out to Walker via texts and phone calls.
That's when the difficulty of moving on sunk in for Walker.
"All of them have given me calls, congratulating me, wishing the best for me," the former 49ers tight end said. "It's kind of sad. After I got off the phone with them, it was like, 'I'm really leaving.' It's sad because I've played with them for so long."
Still, Walker still has fond memories of his teammates.
"We built a lot of chemistry and they're like my family," Walker said. "Every day I got to see them early from 6 in the morning to 7 at night. When you spend time with people like that, you become family members.
"It's going to be hard, but it's a business. We'll always have something in common, going to the NFC Championship game for two years and going to the Super Bowl together."
Walker also spoke highly of the 49ers organization and its fans.
"I would like to thank them for all the great support they gave me, the love they showed me. I'll never forget them. I'm always going to be a 49er deep down inside because that's where I started from.
"I love all the 49ers Faithful, I will miss you guys and I wish the best for the 49ers as well."
San Francisco's fan base will catch Walker in 2013 though. The Titans and 49ers are set to play in Tennessee.
"That was the first game I saw," Walker said with a laugh. "Every other game was a blur."