New Patriots QB Walter escapes the Black Hole

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A nice turn of events, wouldn't you say?

Andrew Walter smiled, cocked his head and thought of a diplomatic response.

"That's safe to say," Walter told reporters Wednesday in his first comments since signing to compete for the backup quarterback job with the New England Patriots.

The Oakland Raiders released Walter last week. His dejection didn't last long. He went from buried on the roster of an NFL laughingstock to battling for the No. 2 job on a contending team.

Furthermore, Tom Brady's repaired left knee offers no guarantees. Walter could get back on the field more easily with the Patriots than he could've with the Raiders.

"The timing of leaving Oakland, obviously, wouldn't have been what I would have chosen two days into training camp," he said. "But I'm pleased the way it worked out."

Walter was asked if he felt the Raiders treated him unfairly.

"That's something that people who know that situation can judge for themselves," Walter replied. "I prefer not to comment on that. Anybody who would do a couple Google searches and little research easily could find the answer to that question."

A Google search turns up skeins of unflattering stories about Walter, who drew the ire of Raiders fans. The Raiders drafted Walter out of Arizona State in the third round in 2005. He was thrust into the starter's role for eight games the next year. He threw three touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.

"What will be will be," Walter said of his perception in Oakland. "I'm not worried about labels. What other people say doesn't affect me.

"Guys have been going other places and having success. Plenty. Kerry Collins, Randy Moss, you could just keep going. I'm not even going to do that right now. That's a conversation we can have a beer [over] one day and talk about it."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn't giving much credence to Walter's stats in Oakland.

"He's going to get an opportunity to play in practice and hopefully in the preseason games after he shows us that he can be efficient out there in running the team," Belichick said. "We'll evaluate him based on that.

"College and some of the years, that doesn't make any difference. What matters is how he performs in our system with this team this year."

Walter was a teammate of Patriots receiver Randy Moss for two seasons in Oakland, but Walter isn't ready to start talking him up for tips.

"I have tried to pick his brain, but he's on the intricacies of the offense," Walter said. "I'm on broad strokes. We had a little conversation early this morning on broad stuff, but that's the basis of it right now."

Walter is focused on the playbook and figures the timing with his new receivers will come more naturally. Moss, Wes Welker, Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis all have been around the block a few times.

Walter isn't allowing himself to speculate what it might be like to enter a similar, harrowing situation to what Matt Cassel faced last year if Brady's knee doesn't hold up.

"Carson Palmer came back and had a sweet year," Walter said, referring to the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback who returned from a knee injury to have a Pro Bowl season in 2006. Replacing Brady is "something totally outside the realm of what I'm thinking about right now."