FOR ALL THE Pacman Joneses and Michael Vicks of the sports world, we offer a refreshing story about a pro athlete. And he used to play here.

Former Eagle Darwin Walker gave the commencement speech yesterday to the University of Tennessee's College of Engineering.

A Tennessee grad with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, Walker, 29, is already a very successful businessman (and still a decent football player, too). He is VP and chief development officer of Pennoni Associates, an engineering firm based here.

While speaking yesterday, Walker talked of "Darwin's Keys to Success," which are vision, focus and persistent determination. "I always envisioned myself has an NFL football player, as an engineer and as a successful businessperson," he said.

He might not envision himself playing in Buffalo, though, which is where the Eagles traded him to recently. Walker said yesterday that he hasn't visited the city yet and that he won't report until he gets a contract extension.

"[The contract] was traded to Buffalo with the understanding that we wanted a new deal," said agent Albert Irby. "They made the trade knowing that this had to happen."

It's business, after all. And Walker's pretty good at that.

Careful

For those who have been aching for some competition for Tiger Woods, Rory Sabbatini wants to be that man. Sabbatini challenged Woods at the Wachovia Championship last week, and Tiger whupped him. He's at it again.

For those who have been aching for some competition for Tiger Woods, Rory Sabbatini wants to be that man. Sabbatini challenged Woods at the Wachovia Championship last week, and Tiger whupped him. He's at it again.

"I think he's more beatable than ever," Sabbatini said of Woods yesterday after posting a 5-under, 67 to take a share of the lead at The Players Championship. Woods didn't card a birdie for the first time in 4 years in shooting a 75.

"I want him to pick it up and we'll be up there late on Sunday." Careful, Rory. *

- Bob Cooney