As the league year and free agency began, the Denver tenures of two Broncos starters ended.
Wide receiver Javon Walker and weakside linebacker Ian Gold were both released on Friday afternoon, one day shy of two months after a frustrating 2007 season that saw both grapple with knee injuries.
BRONCOS TV: MASON ON WALKER, GOLD:
Gold’s injury sidelined him for most of the Week 15 loss at Houston and all of the last two games, during which Jamie Winborn took his place. Walker, meanwhile, finished the season on the field — with two receptions in each of the final three games — but knee problems took their toll, necessitating surgery on Oct. 19 and a recovery that limited him to spot duty upon his return to the field over a month later.
Walker seemed to foretell the future the day after the regular-season finale, when he said “No,” when asked whether he saw the team as a good fit for him.
“What it boils down to at this point is I’ve got to go where the best fit is for me,” he said during a rambling question-and-answer session that occasionally saw him lapse into the third person.
Javon Walker, Dec. 31, 2007:
“Wherever Javon’s talents can be used at, I’ve got to go to where the best fit’s for me.”
Microfracture surgery on the ailing knee is a possibility, Head Coach Mike Shanahan acknowledged at his season-ending press conference in January.
“There’s talk of a microfracture somewhere down the line,” Shanahan said then. “It could be two or three years from now; it could be four years. We just don’t know.”
Reports are also rampant that the Broncos have retained two of their unrestricted free agents — defensive end John Engelberger and tight end Nate Jackson.