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Rollin' With (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday November 15, 2006 1:44PM; Updated: Wednesday November 15, 2006 2:52PM
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After his controversial exit from Green Bay, Javon Walker has been embraced by Broncos fans.
After his controversial exit from Green Bay, Javon Walker has been embraced by Broncos fans.
Robert Beck/SI
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Silver: When Brett came out and criticized you -- and said, among other things, "We'll win without him" -- how did it make you feel?

Walker: When I first thought about it, I was like, Oh, man, I'm really gonna hear it, because this is Brett Favre, the Golden Boy of the NFL. But as the story played out, it was vice-versa -- not with the fans, but in [NFL circles]. I had more people sticking up for me than anything. Donovan McNabb, Deion Branch, Eddie George... guys kept telling me they were on my side. Even the guys when I got here -- Champ Bailey, Al Wilson -- were doing that. When you think about it, even though we all compete on the field, we're still a fraternity. I was like, 'Wow.'

(Favre, contacted for an upcoming Sports Illustrated feature on Walker, declined to comment but indicated he bears his ex-teammate no ill will -- a sentiment Walker, too, expressed about the future Hall of Fame quarterback.)

Silver: I'm sure the fans weren't quite as supportive, though.

Walker: If a fan is really that supportive [of the team], I'll tell that fan, 'Let me have your knee, and you take my knee, and I'll play the rest of the year with a knee that's fully healthy. You can walk around and do your job with my damaged knee, and feel all the pain and have people have to help you walk the first month after you have surgery.'

Silver: Did you get any negative reactions from any of your other Packers teammates?

Walker: Not actually to my face. But there were guys wanting to be compensated for their efforts who'd tie my situation to theirs. My thing was, don't say, "If Javon gets that, I need this." Be a man and tell it to [management] yourself that you want more money; don't just follow behind me.

(In the background Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" is being drowned out by the sound of several blenders.)

Silver: How is your relationship with your new quarterback, Jake Plummer?

Walker: Good. I like Jake. He's such a calm quarterback, and he just plays the game he knows how to play and doesn't let the media or fans dictate how he plays. He's a funny guy. I love being in the huddle with him. He just takes everything and blocks it out and carries himself with confidence all the time.

Silver: A few weeks ago there was talk about him being benched in favor of (rookie) Jay Cutler. How do you feel about that potential controversy?

Walker: My view on that is, regardless of which quarterback is out there, I know I'm going to make plays. Period.

Silver: OK, now for a truly hard-hitting question. What's with the wheat grass?

Walker: I'm always looking into health, anything that'll help me make it through an NFL season, I'll try it. I started doing wheat grass shots about five years ago at this little place in Green Bay, and I come in here and have a big cup of it every day after practice, and it makes me feel a little better, more energetic. I do a bunch of stuff: I get massages, go to a chiropractor, consult with a nutritionist. I basically eat a lot of fish and chicken, and once a week I take care of my sweet tooth, and the rest of the time I try to go without.

Silver: You're involved with a device, Great Catch (http://www.greatcatch.org), that's being used by other receivers in the NFL and college football to help them learn to catch the ball with their fingers. Tell us about it.

Walker: Back when I was in high school (at St. Thomas More in Lafayette, La.) our offensive coordinator, Leland Padgett, used to say to us, "You don't really have great hands, you have great fingers." Well, one of my high school teammates, Lance Strother, decided to build on that idea, and we came up with a device that prevents the palm from catching the ball. It's this band that goes across each hand and attaches the equivalent of a golf ball to each palm, which means you have to catch with your fingertips. I use it on my days off or on the field during pregame warmups.

Silver: When you said after last season that you'd rather retire than return to the Packers, were you serious, or was that just a ploy to get out of there?

Walker: No, I was serious. Well, I actually wouldn't retire from the game of football, but I would retire from Green Bay. It wasn't the right situation anymore. When I was injured I decided, I'm not gonna let anybody dictate my decisions anymore; I'm going to be the one that drives them.

Silver: Other than possibly playing a game at Lambeau with the Broncos, do you think you'll ever go back to Green Bay?

Walker: Probably not. Before getting drafted, I didn't even know what Green Bay was. It's a great city with great fans and great people, but there's no reason to go back there. There was no reason to go there before I got drafted, and there's no reason to go back now.

Rollin' With Y'all:

"Great interview, I like the format. Next time, tell Edge we miss him."

-- Jason from Indy

I'm sure he feels similarly.

"Michael, that is the nerdiest thing I have ever seen. Quit trying to be cool...."

-- Scriv in KC

OK. If you quit pretending that cool people use the word "nerdiest" in 2006.

"It was sad to see Edgerrin leave for the desert, and I was afraid that the Colts would suffer terribly in the run department. I don't feel that has happened. Although, I don't feel that Dominick Rhodes is the man, I feel Joseph Addai is. He has shined in just about every game he's been in. One thing that is evident, and I have learned is that most football players are in it for the money more than anything else. Edge has proved that to me. No longer are the days where a Super Bowl ring or Canton is the most important. The Colts have been so close, and this COULD be their year. Edge left that behind for more money with a team that has historically, consistently done absolutely nothing. Don't get me wrong. Edge is a good guy. But the game is, and always will be bigger than the player. T.O., Randy Moss, and all the others...Take note."

-- John Suter from Indianapolis

I think James sincerely believed he could and would help transform the culture in Arizona and turn the Cardinals into a winner. In fairness, it's not like the Colts were offering him anything close to what he believed (correctly) that his fair market value was --even though they locked up three of his fellow offensive stars (Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne) with lucrative long-term deals. And I hate to break it to you, but back in the day when players were "loyal" to their teams, it was because they didn't have much choice. Had unrestricted free agency existed forty years ago, Dick Butkus might've gone for the cash, too.

"I feel sorry for Edgerrin James. I've always liked his running style since I saw him play against UCLA, I can't remember the year but I remember be amazed at how he could glide for four yards. In the right offense he would be very productive. The unfortunate thing is he's taking a beating and if keeps up he will lose a step or two. Anyway, cool article. It was right on time, too. I'm glad I check the site. It's 1:45 a.m. and I just finished homework I started at 10:00. I was watching the news at the time and found out this kid named Scott who worked the Circle K up the street was killed yesterday in a robbery while walking to work. He was only 21 or 22 and lived with his mother and little brother. He was so cool and it just made me so mad and sad at the same time I couldn't concentrate. I don't know why I'm writing this I guess I just need to vent. I'm rambling in writing. Hey, as a matter of fact. I'm getting my project management cert from your alma mater, CAL. Looks like this could be their year. Take care and be safe."

-- Lawrence from Gilbert, AZ

Thanks, man. I think it's pretty understandable why you couldn't concentrate on homework. Our condolences to Scott's loved ones.

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