Walker Got Bigger To Be Better


A year ago at this time, wide receiver Javon Walker was a rookie. And he looked like one.

Dropped balls and wrong routes, Walker wasn't immune to the mistakes that plague seemingly every player in his NFL infancy.

Wednesday, as the Green Bay Packers opened up their first mini-camp of 2003, Walker stepped onto the practice field a veteran. And he looked like one.

It wasn't just the way Walker scampered underneath a 35-yard Brett Favre pass to catch it in stride that showed how much he's evolved in the last year. It was that this time when Walker tucked the ball into his chest the pigskin almost disappeared behind noticeably larger biceps.

Quite simply: Walker has been hitting the weights this offseason, and it shows.

"I am a little bigger," Walker admitted with a smile after practice. "That was my goal (for the offseason) ... The thing about me is, I have a real problem holding weight. I'll come into (training) camp and lose 10 pounds in a week."

The muscle mass Walker has added this spring doesn't seem in danger of disappearing any time soon.

Walker has split his time this spring working out with the Packers' strength team in Green Bay and a personal trainer in Arizona, where he's conditioned alongside other NFL players like Donovan McNabb, Simeon Rice and Shaun Springs.

Whereas last season Walker thinks he played around 205 pounds, right now he estimates his weight to range between 220 and 225.

Walker says the difference isn't just in how he looks, but how he feels.

"My body feels good as far as waking up every morning, taking the right vitamins, doing the right things to keep my body healthy," Walker said. "I do see a difference as far as feeling better and a lot stronger."

While Walker's increased mass will pay dividends immediately, adding the muscle has just as much to do with the 2013 season as it does with 2003.

One thing Walker said he learned at his Arizona workouts is the affect his current conditioning will have on the rest of his career.

"The thing is about the NFL is you can come in and be an awesome player your first two, three years, but the league is all about longevity," Walker said. "In order to (have a long career) you have to keep your body at a level of competition and health to perform those years."

Despite the added weight, Walker swears he hasn't lost a step of his blazing speed. In fact, much of his weight work has coincided with sprint work.

Having closed out the 2002 season with a five-catch, 104-yard performance in the Packers' playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Walker said he is a more confident player than he was a year ago.

And he's eager to start where he left off.

"This year is going to be a real big season for (the receivers)," said Walker, who will likely come off the bench behind Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson.

"We're still a young group ... I've got a year under my belt, so people are going to be expecting a lot more. We're up to that challenge."

At mini-camp last year the buzz around Walker surrounded what he could be. This year it's hard to look past what he is right now.

For a player yearning for bigger and better things, half of that equation has already been solved.

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