Javon Walker was released by the Raiders earlier this week, but he says he isn’t done with the NFL.
Multiple injuries and incomparable tragedy have derailed Walker’s career since he caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns with the Broncos in 2006. However, Walker professed Friday on NFL Network that after several surgeries — including an experimental procedure on his right knee — he’s 100 percent healthy and ready to play for whatever team is willing to give him a chance.
“The NFL is all about what have you done for me lately, and you know, I haven’t done anything lately,” Walker admitted. “But (I’m) just (looking for) somebody who’s going to dig down deep and say, ‘Let’s take a look and see what this kid can do.'”
Appearing on the NFL Total Access set, Walker told host Fran Charles that a broken ankle and lingering knee problems from his time in Denver never allowed him to perform at the level the Raiders had hoped he would when they signed him to a six-year, $55 million contract before the 2008 season. Walker went on to start seven games for the Raiders that year, catching 15 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown.
Since then, Walker, who appeared in three games for the Raiders last season, traveled to Israel to have an experimental surgery (without the team’s knowledge) in which cartilage from his knee was regrown, then inserted into the knee. Walker said the procedure, which is usually performed on soccer players, has allowed him to regain his explosiveness at age 31.
As surprised as the Raiders must have been to learn about Walker’s lingering knee problems and the distance he traveled to fix them, the receiver said he was equally shocked when the team offered him such a hefty contract two years ago.
“It was a surprise to me,” Walker said. “But, you know, like any human, if somebody offers you something good, I wasn’t going to say no. … Really, football has never been about the money to me, but what the Raiders offered, it’s not like I’m going to turn it down and say, ‘Hey, you know, I don’t think I deserve this.’ I was like ‘OK, maybe I can be a part of the puzzle to make this organization go again.'”
Walker also discussed the Thursday conviction of a suspected gang member in the murder of his friend and former Broncos teammate, Darrent Williams. Walker was in the limousine with Williams when he was gunned down in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2007.
“I’m mostly happy for his family,” Walker said. “For them, obviously they can’t get Darrent Williams back, but at least they get some closure on that whole situation, what occured. At least they got the guy who committed such a, to me, horrifying tragedy.”