Javon Walker has had a topsy-turvy ride in the NFL. A promising career that started with a Pro Bowl in his second season with Green Bay took a major detour, fraught with injuries, a well-publicized mugging, and the death of his friend and Broncos teammate, Darrent Williams. Soon after signing a 6 year, $55 million dollar contract with the Oakland Raiders in 2008, Walker suffered another injury and missed that whole season. His time in Oakland was tumultuous, leading to his release on March 8th.
But Javon says he’s healed and healthy and is currently looking for a new NFL home. In this exclusive interview, Javon addresses some of the bad publicity in Oakland, makes his case to potential GMs, and explains how he just might shock a few fantasy owners.
LISTEN TO OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JAVON
Sporting a “fro-hawk” as an homage to the fallen Darrent Williams
On his tumultuous last few years:
“Everybody needs to know that none of that was out of any wrongdoing on my part. It was just a situation where I was at the wrong place at the wrong time….I feel like I got put through the test of things that could happen to people and I bounced back.”
On time with Raiders:
“I was in an unfortunate situation in Oakland where I got put on the backburner… A lot of people know that situation when you go to Oakland so it’s not to no surprise. It wasn’t the right situation for me. . . When I was in Denver I performed. I was in Green Bay I performed, so now you’re trying to tell me that now I’m in Oakland I can’t perform? I never really got a fair chance. I’m not the first athlete who went into Oakland and all of a sudden it looked like his talents have disappeared. We can all remember, you know I’m a huge fan, with Randy Moss. People thought Randy Moss was done and look what happens when he decides to leave.”
On Oakland fans calling him Bernie Madoff (referencing his 6 year. $55 million contract):
“It wasn’t my fault because obviously the Raiders gave it to me. Everybody knows how Al Davis is. What fans don’t realize is when I signed that contract I offered to give it back. I don’t take money just to take it. People need to give the money back and they said no. I didn’t go into Oakland like Madoff. Somebody has got to give it to you, and they gave it to me. Last year, they didn’t put me on the field so if anybody “made-off” it was Oakland. . . People were wondering why I wasn’t dressing, well you know what, I couldn’t tell you. They just decided not to utilize my talent the way it needed to be utilized.”
On his surgery in Israel:
“I’m 100% healthy, finally, since I left Denver. People are going to say ‘Wow, that’s the Javon we remember.’ I returned 110%. That’s why if I was such a bad football player they would have let me go during training camp; they would have let me go during the season; they would have let me go during the 2009 season. So if people can read into that, if I was such a bad player they could have let me go a whole season ago. They didn’t because I came back 100 miles per hour, and they saw that every day. It’s like putting a new engine in an old car.
On the future:
“Come the 2010 season people are going to say ‘wow, this is the kid we remember and I’m going to sit back and say, hey, this was always here.’”
On what he’d say to a GM:
“Javon has never been in trouble. Javon doesn’t have a criminal record. Javon has never been caught up in anything detrimental to a team as far as my character. I’m not scared of nothing. I’ll come in there. I’ll workout with the team. Run routes for whoever I need to run to because my ability is where I need it to be. I’m the Pro Bowler who was there in Green Bay. Whatever team thinks they’re in need of a top receiver, 30 years old, in his prime, they’re going to come get me.”
On if he’d be willing to take the league minimum/incentive-laden contract:
“Yes, the thing about football right now is it’s not really about the money. Even when I went to Oakland, I said I’d give that money back. I just want to play football and utilize my talent to help a team win the Super Bowl and everything else will take care of itself.”
On being a potential fantasy sleeper:
“Fantasy is about what have you done for me lately, and I haven’t done nothing, so I just want to mess up everybody’s fantasy league wondering where he’d come from.”