With the Raiders, Walter isn't even a third-wheel. He's a fourth-wheel — a No. 4 quarterback in a league where three is the norm.
Starters Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper have struggled while No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell continues his crash course of the Raiders offense, having missed all of training camp and the preseason while waiting for his contract to be done.
Walter goes to meetings, prepares mentally as best he can, and then seldom even gets a scout team rep in practice.
"It's been a challenge but character is tested in tough times and we're in a tough time right now," Walter said.
Walter was rumored to be on his way out at the trade deadline, and coach Lane Kiffin has hinted at a release so the Raiders can add another player.
The trade never happened because McCown was injured and Russell wasn't close to being ready at the deadline, meaning Walter was the backup for Culpepper.
The release isn't happening because Raiders owner Al Davis thought enough of Walter to make him a third-round draft pick in 2005, and now thinks he still can be of some use even if Russell has replaced him as the quarterback of the future.
McCown and Culpepper are in the final year of their contracts and could walk after the season ends. Kiffin said if both quarterbacks leave, the Raiders would go into the 2008 season with Russell as the only quarterback under contract if Walter were released.
Walter knows the value of Russell's contract has removed any chance for him to be the Raiders' starter.
"Ultimately, I want to play," Walter said. "I would have been thrilled if that was here. If it's somewhere else, obviously, that's up to the organization. My goal is never to be a career backup. When you draft a guy No. 1 overall, he's going to get the ball sooner rather than later. It aces out any situation that I can see myself in ... the writing is on the wall."
Kiffin said he has no plans to elevate Walter even with McCown and Culpepper playing poorly, but appreciates the way Walter has dealt with the situation.
"Andrew has handled himself very first-class," Kiffin said. "It doesn't do any good to come out and complain. That's never going to help you. He's done a really good job because it's not been easy. When you see a team losing you think, ‘Well, I can do that. I can turn the ball over three times. I can lead us to six points.'"