Raiders' Walker turns it on at end of camp
By Jason Jones - firstname.lastname@example.org
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, August 14, 2008
Story appeared in SPORTS section, Page C3
NAPA – His coach might not like it, but maybe Javon Walker just doesn't practice well.
Raiders coach Lane Kiffin tried criticizing the wide receiver through the media, calling out Walker for being overweight and for not practicing enough.
It didn't bother Walker.
"Obviously, coach Lane, he's a new coach (for me) this year, and he really doesn't know me," Walker said. "Basically, all I know is what (I've) done against him in games. … Being critical? I've been through way too much of that. I know me, and I know my body, so the only thing I could say is if (the criticism) was something (Kiffin) would really harp on, put on the (video) tapes and watch what I've done."
Kiffin, though, doesn't really care what Walker did before signing with Oakland, and it's not exactly how he wants his presumed No. 1 receiver to think.
Kiffin's message might not have inspired Walker to do more during training camp. But Walker finished camp strong.
Walker is now visibly enjoying himself – just as training camp is ending – no longer appearing to be uninspired. The Raiders broke camp Wednesday.
Walker's turnaround was first noticeable when the Raiders practiced with the 49ers in Napa on Aug. 4. And since last Friday's exhibition opener against San Francisco, Walker has continued to look better.
Not bad considering this turnaround came days after he told the team he wanted to retire after struggling at the start of camp.