A couple of interesting articles about former Broncos and current Raiders came out in the Denver Post. It appears that Ashley Lelie may be starting in place of Javon Walker on Monday night.
As we know in Denver, Walker is constantly plagued by injuries. A pulled hamstring may keep him out of the starting lineup on week 1. The more intriguing part about Walker is that it’s a miracle he is even playing at all this season. We know about the mugging that took place in Las Vegas which left Walker with a concussion and a battered face. It was truly and unfortunate incident, but what we didn’t know is that Walker was ready to give back his $11 million signing bonus to Raiders owner, Al Davis at the beginning of training camp. Davis, being the brilliant fly by the seat of his pants owner that he is, talked him out of it. Walker said,
“Oh, it was close. I went in. I was going to sign a check back. I was going to do it.” (Denver Post)
Wow. Walker gave you a way out Mr. Davis. Not sure why you didn’t take it considering his reputation in the locker room and injury problems. Oh well, just another poor decision on the part of Al Davis.
Ashley Lelie, the guy that could be starting in place of Walker is also lucky to be playing this year. He went from Denver to Atlanta, and then to San Francisco before landing on the waiver wire. Oakland just picked him up on Wednesday. Lelie wanted to leave Denver in the first place to get his chance to be the #1 receiver elsewhere. He felt that he couldn’t do that with the Broncos because Rod Smith and Walker were there to compete against for the job. So, Lelie packed his bags and headed to the dirty south for one season, and then to the Bay area where things turned very ugly for him. He caught just 10 passes in 2007 for the 49ers.
I was a big fan of Lelie. I will always remember that deadly combination of Smith, Ed McCaffrey, and Lelie in the receiver slots. It’s too bad Lelie wasn’t more willing to stick around and compete for the job. McCaffrey retired two years after Lelie was drafted and Smith wasn’t lining up for as many plays later on in his career. Lelie’s last two seasons in Denver were especially strong with 54 and 42 catches, respectively.
Long live Lelie. Even if he is a Raider now.