The team announced Saturday it signed former Tulane University defensive back Devon Walker.
Walker suffered a career-ending spinal injury when he collided with a teammate in September 2012, his senior season. The injury left him paralyzed from the neck down.
"When Devon got hurt, his football career was just starting to take off after three years of hard work," Saints coach Sean Payton said, per the team's official website. "Despite the devastating injury he suffered, Devon refuses to let that define him. He is an outstanding young man, who is not only an inspiration to his coaches and teammates at Tulane, but to all of us. Devon's character, determination, intelligence and work ethic are everything that we look for in a New Orleans Saint when we sign a player. This is the least we can do to recognize Devon and these attributes that we want all of our players to have."
The 23-year-old Walker participated in graduation ceremonies for the New Orleans-based university prior to signing with the Saints on Saturday.
"For me, this is one of my dreams come true," Walker said. "I've been a Saint since before I was walking. Just to be a part of the team and be around the players is more than I could have hoped for."
Walker has been recognized for his courage after the devastating injury. The New Orleans Fellowship Foundation honored him with an award named in his honor. In 2012 he was named the Brand Burlworth Courage Award winner and in 2013 he received the Disney Spirit Award.
The Saints made a fantastic gesture giving Walker a contract. The young man's persistence is an example to us all of the power of perseverance in the face of whatever tragedy life throws our way.