Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 2, 2008
Kiffin is worried, Javon thinks it's all good.

NAPA - Wow.

I'm not sure how to describe Javon Walker.

He acted as if he didn't tell the Raiders he wanted to retire after tonight's practice.

But he did.

"That's a done issue," Walker said. "That was something, I'm not really sure what happened but that's a done issue. That's something that obviously people hear stuff ... I'm here practicing, waiting, obviously can't wait till the season starts."

Huh?

Lane Kiffin said Walker approached him two days ago and told him he was thinking of retiring.

But Walker's not sure what happened?

"I told him to take a little bit of time," Kiffin said. "Go back to his room, talk to people close to him, then I put him in touch with Al (Davis). They had a conversation, and then Javon came back the next morning, and said he wanted to keep going."

Kiffin, however, is worried about Walker, who was signed to a six year, $55 million deal and has already received $11 million up front.

He'd have to give back the bonus money he's been paid if he retired.

"It caught me off guard because he's 29 years old," Kiffin said. "I'd had a couple of conversations with him and it seemed like there might be something going on, so he came in and sure, it was surprise."

Walker also had no clue what anyone was talking about when asked if he was OK after being robbed and beaten in Las Vegas in June.

Kiffin has good reason to be worried. He said he didn't see any signs something might be wrong until after the Las Vegas incident.

"I think there are a lot of things going on with him, in his mind," Kiffin said. "A lot has happened, from signing a big contract, to being injured, being released, signing another big contact, Las Vegas, and I'm sure he's been a little disappointed in his play out here, and battling back from injuries, there's a lot going on in his mind."

Walker, however, sees nothing wrong.

"I'm in a great frame of mind," he said. "Why wouldn't I? I'm with a new team, a great bunch of guys. As far as me being young, that's a done issue, that's far from my mind. I'm looking forward to getting this season on the road and actually looking forward to going into next week and try to put everything together as a team and as an offense."

Kiffin said Walker talked to his parents, agent, Davis before deciding on Friday he wanted to keep playing football.

Walker hasn't looked good in practice lately, which Kiffin attributed to Walker having a lot on his mind.

It's just that when you go into training camp there's always ups and downs with everybody just because you're doing the same thing every day and everybody tries to be great every day," Walker said. "But that's not going to be the nature of this game. I look forward, going into the season to where each week you have a new week and a new team to prepare (for), you get to see somebody new.

"I'm sure, along with myself and a lot of guys on this team, it's going to be exciting going into next week because we finally get to face a different opponent and see what everybody else has to offer and see what we've learned and what we've been coached and put it all together."

Kiffin remains concerned.

"I worry a lot about it," he said. "For someone to discuss retirement, and then to come back and change his mind a day later - I'm worried a lot about it.

"I'm worried about where he's at mentally, because these things happen sometimes and they come back up again, because maybe they come back and maybe it isn't necessarily for the right reasons, so we're going to continue to communicate with him and push him out there on the field and get him better."

That is, assuming Walker still wants to be on the field when the Raiders practice again.
This won't go over well in the locker room, either. Players don't respect quitters and if they label Walker one, there will be problems.

But with all that Walker has been through, including the death of Darrent Williams, there had to be concerns about his mental state before training camp.

There's even more reason to be concerned about Walker.

Night practice notes

*Walker took a positive tonight by joining the team for practice tonight. He'd been limited to one practice on double days.

"He did that on his own, and this was an easier practice, right here," Kiffin said. "He did that on his own, come out and get some work. When that was going through his mind, as you guys noticed, he was not working as hard as he had been because he was obviously distracted with a lot of different thoughts. So it was good to see him come out and work both times today."

*Kiffin called the team together at the start of team scrimmaging and let them know with some colorful language he wasn't happy with the effort.

*QB JaMarcus Russell unleashed a deep pass to WR Todd Watkins, who got by CB DeAngelo Hall. It was the best deep pass since he hurt his elbow on Tuesday.

*Russell ended a two-minute drill with a touchdown to WR Chris McFoy with no time on the clock.

*Tonight's practice ended on a deep pass from Marques Tuiasosopo that was intercepted by Hall.

*Today was family day and several players' parents, wives, girlfriends and children were at tonight's practice.

The players are off Sunday. The team will be back on the field Monday morning when the 49ers are here for two joint practices.

--Jason Jones


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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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