Raiders holding their breath on beaten Walker

Eddie GriffinSenior Analyst IJune 17, 2008

The surprised many around the this offseason when they signed former Broncos receiver to a six-year, $55 million contract that included $16 million in guaranteed money.

Most experts thought the Raiders vastly overpaid for a receiver who was on the downside of his career and who was injury-prone. Well, Walker is injured again – although from no fault of his own as he was found unconscious on a Las Vegas street Monday after apparently being the victim of a robbery.

Police spokesman Bill Cassell said in a statement that Walker was taken to a hospital with “significant injuries” after being found just off the Las Vegas Strip.

Cassell said Walker remained in fair condition at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

A Raiders spokesman said the team was “in the process of gathering information” and had no further comment.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Walker suffered an “orbital fracture,” which means one or more bones around the eye socket were broken.

Last season with Denver, Walker was limited to eight games because of knee problems that necessitated arthroscopic knee surgery. He caught 26 passes for 287 yards and no touchdowns. It was the second knee injury of his career, with the first coming in the 2002 season.

During the Raiders’ recent mini-camps and OTAs, Coach Lane Kiffin said Walker was still getting in peak condition and needed to lose weight to be ready for training camp, which begins July 25. The Raiders have their final week of voluntary OTAs this week.

Review-Journal columnist Norm Clarke wrote that Walker partied Saturday night at Tryst, a popular casino in the Wynn Hotel, spraying the crowd with some of the 15 bottles of Dom Perignon Rose champagne he ordered.

Perhaps that is unrelated to the robbery, but being flashy on the Strip has been known to get athletes in trouble (are you listening, Pacman Jones?).

From the football side of things, if Walker were to miss any time, it would be a blow to the Raiders, who had him listed as the No. 1 receiver on the depth chart. With Jerry Porter now gone, only No. 2 receiver Ronald Curry and backup Drew Carter have any significant experience. That is not a recipe for success with an inexperienced quarterback in JaMarcus Russell. You might even see rookie running back Darren McFadden get time in the slot.