NAPA, Calif. (AP) - Exactly one year ago Friday, Javon Walker went in to see Al Davis and told the Oakland Raiders owner he wanted to retire just months after signing a $55 million contract.
That was part of a first season in Oakland marred by injuries, an offseason robbery in Las Vegas and constant criticism from former coach Lane Kiffin.
It's a brand new Walker at his second training camp, revived by a mysterious offseason operation and excited about getting back on the field instead of staying off it for good.
Walker opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list because of his recovering right knee, but is eager to get back on the field to show people what he's still able to do.
"They're just waiting and making sure that everything goes according to plan," he said Friday. "When they let me loose, it's on after that. This is the first time that I've felt this good based off of the problem I was having with my knee. And it got fixed."
Walker won't reveal what exact procedure he underwent on his knee, saying only it was something new and that it is going to be "something amazing that's going to benefit and help a lot of athletes."
The enigmatic receiver wouldn't even say where the procedure was done, saying he was "clueless" if it was done in the United States or another country.
"When I let you know about the procedure it's going to be something where we'll be right back here weeks from now talking about it," Walker said. "I'm just going to wait, let my rehab go. When I'm out there practicing and playing, I'll give a little more insight into what it is."
Walker said it will probably be about two weeks until the team lets him back on the field to practice. Coach Tom Cable just wants to make sure his receiver is completely healed before cutting him loose.
"He seems to be on schedule and all that," Cable said. "We want to make sure. I think if you remember last year, he hurried it a little bit and it became an issue."
Walker had a difficult first season with the Raiders after signing a $55 million, six-year free-agent deal in the offseason. He was criticized by Kiffin for being out of shape during offseason workouts, was seriously injured during a robbery in Las Vegas, and then contemplated retirement early in training camp.
He then had just 15 catches for 196 yards and one touchdown in eight games before going down with a season-ending ankle injury. He renegotiated his contract to take a $27 million pay cut in the offseason before surprising the Raiders by undergoing the operation on his knee in April.
Walker expects to be back to his old self when he gets on the field, saying his knee has never felt any better. Walker missed eight games in 2007 for Denver because of an injury to the knee and said it bothered him most of last season.
He hopes to be back to the level he was at in 2004, when he had 89 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns for Green Bay. He had 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in his first season with the Broncos in 2006, but has only 1,545 yards in his other five seasons combined because of injuries and other factors.
"I'm also excited about still letting Oakland see what Javon has to offer because I'm young, I'm in my prime right now," he said. "My ability hasn't changed, my enthusiasm hasn't changed. I'm just excited to be back to the Javon that was that first year in Denver and the Javon that was in Green Bay and all of a sudden translate it to here."
The Raiders need that from Walker, considering the inexperience they have at receiver. Of the 10 other receivers on the roster, four are rookies including first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey, two others have never caught a pass in the NFL, and only one, Samie Parker (110 catches), has more than 30 receptions in his career.
Notes: Raiders owner Al Davis came out to practice for the first time this summer, watching the afternoon session. ... Cable said there was nothing new to report on the status of DE Derrick Burgess, who is staying away from camp in hopes of being traded.
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