The Oakland Raiders certainly didn’t need another off-the-field distraction, but that’s exactly what they have gotten thanks to Javon Walker. The veteran has asked for his release.
“That would be nice,” Walker said earlier this week, “because, the thing about it is, it’s not that I can’t play. I can play. From everyone who sees me at practice, I still got it going on.”
Thursday was an exception, as Walker left practice early with a hamstring injury.
The expected return of No. 1 receiver Chaz Schilens on Sunday against Kansas City all but assures Walker spending the rest of the season buried on the depth chart, if not on the bench.
It’s a precipitous fall from where Walker stood 18 months ago, when the Raiders signed him to a six-year contract that guaranteed him $16 million. He collected $12 million last season and is guaranteed $4.6 million through the end of next season.
Raiders managing general partner Al Davis made it clear he wants Cable to play the younger players, especially Schilens and rookies Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy.
Walker said he understands the situation. As a result, he has played the good soldier, working hard and helping the younger receivers adjust to the NFL.
At the same time, he said, he wants people to understand that his lack of playing time has nothing to do with his ability.
“I know a lot of people have been questioning the coaches on why I haven’t been playing,” Walker said. “They just need to say that, ‘Hey, we’re going with the young group.’ I understand that. That pretty much would at least stop all the questions being asked.”
Compared to the Tom Cable stuff, Walker wanting out is small potatoes. But it’s good to see that some things never change with the Raiders in that there’s always something going on that has nothing to do with the product on the field.
Whenever Walker parts ways with Oakland, maybe he’ll end up in Kansas City.
He’s over 30 and a receiver. Seems to fit the bill, no?