|07-31-2006, 04:30 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Javon Walker article
Receiver Javon Walker's first few tests in training camp were passed easily. Walker, the Denver Broncos' prized acquisition from the offseason, tested his surgically repaired knee against defensive backs for the first time when camp started and he looked strong.
Walker went against Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey in many drills, a tough test coming back from a torn ACL. Walker moved fluidly and fast, showing no signs that his knee will be an issue this year.
"He looked like the old Javon Walker," Bailey said. "If he's rusty, I'd like to see him when he's not."
The Broncos have handled Walker with care. They wouldn't let him run drills against live competition in the team's July minicamp, even though Walker was trying to convince the coaches to let him loose. Denver stuck with its plan of waiting until training camp to get Walker in live drills, and then limit him to one practice a day to make sure he doesn't overwork his knee.
When Walker got through his first camp practice without any problems, there was a sense of relief from the Broncos and Walker.
"It felt good," Walker said. "As a matter of fact, it went better than what I was expecting. I wasn't thinking about the knee, I wasn't thinking about cutting, I was just trying to get back to my old self."
Walker's ability will give the Broncos a major boost on offense, if he's healthy. He said he was about 90 percent at the start of camp. Walker at 90 percent is still an upgrade at receiver. Ashley Lelie, who is holding out, had 42 catches and one touchdown last year. The Broncos would be disappointed if Walker doesn't blow those numbers away.
Another positive sign for the Broncos is how quickly Walker has fit in with his teammates. Although Walker threatened to hold out because of contract issues with Green Bay and had a falling out with quarterback Brett Favre, he was never considered a locker-room cancer. The Broncos had great chemistry during a 13-3 season last year, and it doesn't seem like Walker will disrupt that.
"Everybody knows that I'm not a bad guy off the field," Walker said. "I'm going to come in and help the team win, and once people get to know me, they'll see it for themselves."
CAMP CALENDAR: The Broncos began training camp on July 28, and break after a morning practice on August 18. The Broncos aren't having any joint practices against another team, as they did with Houston in 2003 and 2005, and won't have any practices at Invesco Field at Mile High.