|Broncos release oft-injured receiver Javon Walker|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 29 February 2008 13:25|
Upset with his contract in Green Bay and public criticism by Brett Favre of his threatened holdout, Walker came to Denver from the Packers in a draft day trade in 2006.
His two-year stay in Denver was marked by a brilliant first season and the tragic shooting death of teammate Darrent Williams, who died in his arms.
Walker started last season with two 100-yard games before missing two months following a third operation on his right knee. He was supplanted by Brandon Marshall as the team's top receiver and finished with just 26 catches for 287 yards and no touchdowns.
The Broncos had tried to trade Walker but found no takers and released him to avoid having to pay him a $5.4 million option bonus on March 4.
The Broncos also released linebacker Ian Gold, who spent seven seasons in Denver sandwiched around a season in Tampa Bay in 2004 and whose play dropped off dramatically last season.
Coming off a torn knee ligament that wiped out most of his 2005 season, Walker piled up 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns on 69 catches in 2006. But hours after the season ended, Williams was slain in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in downtown Denver and slumped into Walker's arms in the back of a limousine.
At first, Walker was unsure if he could continue playing in Denver, but he had a stellar training camp and got off to a good start last season, piling up 17 catches for 220 yards through two games before getting hurt.
Walker made it clear toward the end of the season when he was the forgotten man in Denver's offense that he wasn't willing to restructure his contract, and he insisted all he needed was an offseason of rest to return to his Pro Bowl form.
Although he stopped short of demanding a trade like he did in Green Bay, Walker suggested at season's end that he wanted out: ``I just don't think it's the best fit for me,'' he said at the time.
The Broncos, who re-signed defensive end John Engelberger to a two-year deal just before the start of free agency, allowed 15-year veteran kicker Jason Elam to become a free agent along with strong safety Nick Ferguson, fullback Cecil Sapp and defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban.
They're also hoping perennial Pro Bowl safety John Lynch takes a substantial pay cut to stay in Denver. He is due a $1.12 million bonus March 4 and $2 million for next season, when he turns 37.