Walker has mile-wide grin in Mile High City

About 11 months after suffering a serious knee injury in the season opener, wide receiver Javon Walker — now with the Denver Broncos — practices for the first time and proclaims himself a happy and healthy camper.

Javon Walker spent much of his first training camp workout with the Denver Broncos with a mile-wide smile across his face.

Whether that will continue through 2007 — the Packers visit Denver next season — remains to be seen, but for now, Walker is happy and healthy.

Walker, who grumbled his way through last offseason in hopes of getting a new contract after catching 89 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2004, ran routes against the Broncos' defense on Friday. It's the first time he did that since tearing up his right knee during last year's season opener at Detroit.

"It went better that what I was expecting," Walker told reporters. "The doctor said that the next rehab is going out there and playing, and that is what I was doing. I wasn't thinking about the knee, I wasn't thinking about cutting, I was just trying to get back to my old self and run the plays right.

"You saw me today doing everything. Now it is just about getting back to my old self and making plays."

The Broncos are expecting Walker to be his old self, and Walker won't get the money he desires unless he does just that.

Denver sent the Packers a second-round draft choice to obtain Walker. Walker is playing under the terms of his original Packers contract, plus a $1 million roster bonus. If the Broncos like what they see, next year Walker will start cashing in on the five-year, $40 million extension he signed after the trade.

Walker, who proclaimed his surgically repaired knee 90 percent healthy, will be limited to one practice per day. He was held out of the full-contact afternoon session. Still, he impressed his new teammates.

"He looked like the old Javon Walker," Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey said. "If he's rusty, I'd like to see him when he's not."

Walker, who feuded with Brett Favre during his contract spat last year, also made a positive impression from a personal standpoint.

"He's not what I expected," rookie receiver Brandon Marshall said. "I expected a guy who would be more to himself. But this guy is a great teammate and friend. He's one of the best guys I've been around, as far as a teammate."

Walker says he's just being himself.

"Everybody knows that I'm not a bad guy off the field," Walker said. "I'm going to come in and help the team win, and once people get to know me, they'll see it for themselves."

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.

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