Monday, April 03, 2006
Walker's threats ignored
Packers won't give in to wide receiver
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Wide receiver Javon Walker says he'd rather retire than return to Green Bay and play for the Packers. General manager Ted Thompson says he has no plans to placate the former Pro Bowler.
Walker, rehabilitating his right knee at his former college Florida State, told ESPN.com on Thursday that he wants to be traded or released.
"If I had to go back there, I'd retire," he said. "I don't have to play."
Thompson, who has reorganized the Packers in his 14-month tenure by firing former head coach Mike Sherman and bringing in Mike McCarthy, said Friday the organization will not concede to Walker's demands.
"During his time as a Green Bay Packer, Javon Walker has been well thought of by everyone here. I like Javon, certainly as a person and a player," he said in a statement. "There have been several highly publicized cases of player discontent in the National Football League. I don't anticipate us making any concessions in this matter."
Walker's new agent, Kennard McGuire of CSMG Sports, asked Thompson to move the veteran entering his sixth year or pursue a trade. His former agent, Drew Rosenhaus, made similar requests to management.
McGuire did not return messages left Friday by The Associated Press.
"I just don't feel like this is the best place for me to be right now," Walker told ESPN.com. "I really have no interest in being in a Green Bay Packers uniform or playing for Green Bay again."
Walker has been at odds with the organization since management refused to renegotiate his contract that had two years remaining on it after his Pro Bowl season in 2004, when he caught 89 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Brett Favre criticized Walker's threat of holding out in 2005, and Walker returned only to tear a knee ligament in the season opening loss to Detroit.
"I just don't like the way the organization runs itself," Walker said. "They want players to come up there and play hard and work hard, but when it comes time to be compensated, it's like, 'We forgot what you've done."'
Walker also said Favre's comments last year made living in Wisconsin difficult, and he felt it was unfair the team let Favre interfere with Walker's squabble with management.
"There's an unwritten rule that players stick together," Walker said.
Walker says he will not show up for training camp or come back at all for the final season of his contract regardless of whether Favre decides to retire or return. He said he'll repay the Packers the prorated portion of his signing bonus to leave Green Bay.
"Why should I risk another year of getting beat up playing for a team that I don't want to play for? That's stupid," he said.
Walker said he'll be ready for the 2006 season wherever he lands.
"If I'm going to go out and take hits, it's going to be for a team that I love playing for," he said. "I'm not going to grandstand. I just want the Packers to give me peace of mind."
For now, the Packers say the only way Walker will be free to play elsewhere is if he finishes what he started in Green Bay.
"Javon is under contract," Thompson said. "We expect him to honor it."
Posted by Zennie Abraham at 12:15 AM