During the Monday Night Football game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, head linesman Ed Walker had to be carted off the field after suffering a torn quadriceps muscle while running down the field on a punt. The injury forced the crew headed by Gene Steratore to have to finish the game with just six officials on the field, as Walker was unable to return to action.
Walker, a San Jose State alumnus, is in his third season as an NFL official, having gotten 16 games under his belt as a rookie official as a Line Judge in 2014. He made the move up last season to head linesman but also has experience having served as the field judge.
Last year, he was caught up in a performance that was highly criticized around the league after applying the collegiate out of bounds rule to an NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots that took place on Nov. 24, 2015. After the game, it was acknowledged that he had incorrectly ruled the player on the field to not have gotten out of bounds, when it was blatantly apparent that he had. Walker had a lengthy career as a college football official prior to joining the NFL and was unable to rectify the mistake after the fact, as the out-of-bounds rule is one of many that differs from the collegiate game to the professional level.
With the injury to Walker, Steratore will need to have changes made to his crew in the coming weeks, as the torn quadriceps muscle effectively ends Walker’s season in zebra stripes.