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Herschel Walker
Herschel Walker.jpg
No. 34
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1962-03-03) March 3, 1962 (age 52)
Place of birth: Wrightsville, Georgia
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school: Wrightsville (GA) Johnson Co.
College: Georgia
NFL Draft: 1985 / Round: 5 / Pick: 114
Debuted in 1983 for the New Jersey Generals
Last played in 1997 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history
Career highlights and awards

NCAA

NFL

Career NFL statistics
Games played 187
Games started 138
Rushing yards 8,225
Rushing TDs 61
Receiving yards 5,859
Receiving TDs 21
Stats at NFL.com

Herschel Junior Walker (born March 3, 1962) is a former college and professional football player and a former professional mixed martial artist. He played college football for the University of Georgia, earned consensus All-American honors three times and won the 1982 Heisman Trophy. Walker began his professional football career with the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League (USFL), before joining the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). In the NFL, he also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Early years[edit]

Walker was born in Wrightsville, Georgia to parents Willis and Christine Walker. He was one of seven children in his blue collar family.[1] Walker said that as a child he was overweight and had a speech impediment.[2] Walker's mother taught him not to use these problems as excuses in life.[3]

High school career[edit]

Walker attended Johnson County High School in Wrightsville, where he played for the Johnson County Trojans high school football team from 1976 to 1979. In his senior year, he rushed for 3,167 yards, helping the Trojans to win their first state championship.[4] He was awarded the first Dial Award as 1979 national high school scholar-athlete of the year.

College career[edit]

Walker played running back for the University of Georgia, where he was a three-time All-American and winner of the 1982 Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. He is the only player in NCAA history to finish in the top three in Heisman voting in all three of his collegiate seasons. He is the only NCAA player who played only three years to finish in the top ten in rushing yards. During his freshman season in 1980, Walker set the NCAA freshman rushing record and finished third in Heisman voting. Walker was the first "true freshman" to become a first-team All-American.[5]

He played a major role in helping Georgia avoid defeat that year and win the de facto national championship with a victory over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.[6] He won the Heisman as a junior.[7] In 1999, Walker was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and is considered one of college football's greatest players.[8]

Recap[edit]

1980[edit]

Herschel Walker, the most sought after high school football player in the nation at the time, signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of Georgia Bulldogs on Easter Sunday, April 6, 1980.[9] Mike Cavan, Walker's recruiter, had helped provide head coach Vince Dooley with his prized recruit.[10]

The season began with sophomore Carnie Norris starting ahead of Walker at tailback as the Bulldogs faced the University of Tennessee on September 6, 1980 in Knoxville. With Tennessee gaining a 9-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter, coach Dooley told his offensive coordinator, "I'm putting Herschel in." Tennessee held a 15-2 advantage late in the third quarter when Walker changed the momentum of the game. The 6-1, 218-pound true freshman scored on a pitch sweep from 16 yards out where he ran over Tennessee's safety, Bill Bates, near the goal line with 1:03 left in the 3rd quarter. Walker scored again five minutes later off a 9-yard touchdown run as Georgia went on to win the game, 16-15.[10]

A week later, Georgia traveled to face Texas A&M as the Bulldogs got off to a 28-0 lead by halftime. With four minutes left in the third quarter, Walker broke off on a 76-yard TD run. He finished with 21 carries for 145 yards and 3 TDs against the Aggies. Teammate Buck Belue complemented Walker's ground game by going 6 of 13 for 147 passing yards during the contest.[11]

In the games that followed, Georgia raced to a 6-0 start by knocking off Clemson (20-16), TCU (34-3), Ole Miss (28-21), and Vanderbilt (41-0). In the Vandy game, which was played on October 18, Walker had 23 rushes for a career-high 283 yards and scored on long touchdown runs of 60, 48, and 53 yards during the contest.[12] In the games prior to that, Walker ran for 121 yards against Clemson and 69 more versus TCU—which featured a 41-yard run against the Horned Frogs. Georgia's 20-16 win over Clemson was even closer than the score indicated as the Tigers held Georgia to just 155 total yards of offense which was just 34 more than Walker's rush total on that fateful day on September 20. Walker needed help from senior CB/PR Scott Woerner to get past defensive-minded Clemson as the return man delivered with a 67-yard punt return for a score early in the first quarter as the Bulldogs would go on to win – barely.[13]

The special teams and defense gave Georgia the upperhand in the two weekends that followed as the Bulldogs got past Kentucky (27-0) and South Carolina (13-10). The victory in Athens, Georgia over the Gamecocks on November 1 featured Walker matching up with the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner, George Rogers. Georgia got out to a 13-0 lead early in the third quarter and held on to win by 3 points. Walker's 76-yard touchdown run gave Georgia a commanding lead at 10-0 with 14:14 left in the 3rd quarter. Walker rushed 43 times for 219 yards while Rogers similarly kept pace, gaining 168 yards on 35 carries himself.[14]

Georgia had made it to 8-0 when coach Dooley's Bulldogs faced the most daunting task of the year. The game would be affectionately referred to as the "Miracle on Duval Street" as second-ranked Georgia faced a 6-1 Florida Gators team in Jacksonville, Fla. on November 8, 1980. Walker starting things off by taking a toss sweep play to the right for 72 yards and a score early in the first quarter. Georgia led 14-10 at the half and extended its lead to 20-10 with 3:09 left in the 3rd quarter when Florida mounted its comeback. Florida's QB Wayne Peace (20-of-37, 282 passing yards) directed two scoring drives that gave the Gators a 21-20 lead with 6:52 remaining in the contest. With time running out on third-and-11, QB Buck Belue found WR Lindsay Scott for a 93-yard touchdown pass with 1:03 left to give Georgia the win, 26-21. Walker carried Georgia's offense that afternoon by rushing 37 times for 238 yards against the Gators.[15]

Georgia clinched an SEC Championship with a 6-0 mark in league play on November 15 by taking out Auburn, 31-21, on the road. Walker did most of the work by rushing 27 times for 84 yards which included an 18-yard TD run during the third quarter. This gave Georgia a 31-7 lead as the Bulldogs held on to win the game. Two weeks later, Walker ended the regular season with an exclamation point by scoring on touchdown runs of 1, 23, and 65 yards as Georgia defeated in-state rival Georgia Tech, 38-20. Walker rushed 25 times for 205 yards against the Ramblin' Wreck. Walker's Georgia Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 at 11-0-0 as they were invited to play coach Dan Devine's Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-1-1) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La. on January 1, 1981.[16]

Walker and the Georgia Bulldogs faced traditional football power Notre Dame in the Louisiana Superdome on New Year's Day in the 1981 Sugar Bowl. The Fighting Irish grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the 1st quarter after Harry Oliver nailed a 50-yard field goal. Georgia answered as its kicker, Rex Robinson, hit a 46 yarder with 1:45 left in the first quarter to tie the score at 3-3. Quickly, Walker took center stage after Notre Dame failed to properly field and return a kickoff. Two plays later, Walker dived over the top for a 1-yard touchdown run which gave UGA a 10-3 lead. He took advantage of more Irish misfortune as a Notre Dame fumble set Georgia up at the Irish 22-yard line. Three plays later, Walker was in the end zone again after he had runs of 12, 7, and 3 yards. This TD came with 13:49 left in the 2nd quarter as Georgia led 17-3. Notre Dame's tailback Phil Carter would score a touchdown late in the third quarter as Georgia held on to win, 17-10. Walker, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder very early in the game, managed to rush 36 times for 150 yards that included a longest run of 23 yards during the contest.[17]

At the season's conclusion, Walker had helped his Georgia Bulldogs complete a 12-0-0 record as the Associated Press voted the University of Georgia No. 1 with 58½ first place votes to Pittsburgh's 3½. Walker and his teammates were also voted No. 1 by the United Press International Poll—which listed Georgia with 36 first place votes to Pitt's three.[18]

1981[edit]

It didn't take long for the momentum from 1980 to carry over into 1981 for the Georgia Bulldogs as Walker and company took control early in the season by racing past Tennessee (44-0) and the Cal Golden Bears (27-13) during the first two weekends of September for easy wins. Against the Volunteers, he rushed for 161 yards in 30 snaps and scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 47 yards, but the long run was wiped out by a clipping penalty. Walker pounded California by rushing 35 times for 167 yards on September 12, 1981.[19]

After hitting a dip in the season, losing 13-3 to eventual national champion Clemson, Georgia regained its focus and won out to get to 10-1 by the regular season's end. Even though Walker was able to push, shove, and get through Clemson's defense by rushing 28 times for 111 yards, it wasn't enough to overcome 9 turnovers by the Bulldogs in the loss to the Tigers.[20]

Georgia and Walker rebounded by blanking South Carolina, 24-0, on September 26 as the sophomore running back ran for 176 yards on 36 carries. Georgia, however, only led 3-0 at the half. Walker opened things up for the Bulldogs in the third quarter by scoring on TD runs of 3 and 8 yards to put the Gamecocks away.[21]

Walker's Bulldogs reeled off solid wins—all in October—over Ole Miss (37-7), Vanderbilt (53-21), Kentucky (21-0), and Temple (49-3). He rushed for a season-high 265 yards on 41 attempts and a TD against Mississippi on October 10. A week later, Walker rushed 39 times for 188 yards and 2 TDs versus Vanderbilt. Against Temple, he scored a career-high 4 touchdowns while rushing 23 times for 112 yards against the Owls.

On November 7, seventh-ranked Georgia and Walker got behind, 14-0, down in Jacksonville, Fla. to the Florida Gators, but came back to win in a repeat score of the game from a season before, 26-21. Walker rushed a career-high 47 times for 192 yards while scoring touchdowns on runs of 4, 1, 24, and 16 yards against the Gators.[22]

Walker and the Georgia Bulldogs finished out the regular season at home against nearby rivals in the Auburn Tigers (November 14) and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (December 5). The 24-13 win over coach Pat Dye's Tigers clinched a 2nd SEC Championship in a row for Georgia as Walker's 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave the Bulldogs a commanding 24-7 lead they would not lose. Georgia had led Auburn 17-7 at the half as senior quarterback Buck Belue complimented Walker's power, ground game by throwing for two touchdowns. Walker grinded out 165 yards on 37 rushes during the contest.[23] Against Georgia Tech, seniors Belue and Lindsay Scott set the tone on the game's 1st play by hooking up on an 80-yard pass as Scott raced into the endzone with the pigskin to spark a 34-0 halftime lead for the Bulldogs. Walker got into the act by scoring three touchdowns in the first half. He added a 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter as Georgia cruised past the Yellow Jackets, 44-7. Walker finished with 36 rushes for 225 yards with 4 TDs in the rivalry matchup.[24]

Riding an 8-game winning streak, Walker's Georgia (10-1) ranked as the No. 2 team in the country when they faced Pittsburgh (also 10-1, ranked No. 10) in the 1982 Sugar Bowl. Walker made his presence felt early as he bolted 8 yards for a touchdown with 7:18 left in the 2nd quarter giving Georgia a 7-0 lead inside the Louisiana Superdome. The Bulldogs led 7-3 at the half. After a Dan Marino 30-yard touchdown pass lifted Pitt to a 10-7 lead, Walker answered. This time, Walker scored from 10 yards out to give Georgia a 14-10 lead going into the 4th quarter. With Georgia clinging to a 20-17 lead late in the game, Marino found Pittsburgh's receiver John Brown open for a 33-yard TD pass with 0:35 left in the game. Walker's Bulldogs came up short in the loss, 20-24. He finished with 25 rushes for 84 yards and led UGA in receptions with 3 catches for 53 yards that evening on January 1, 1982.[25][26]

1982[edit]

With the season opener with defending national champion Clemson looming, the University of Georgia received bad news when Herschel Walker suffered a fractured right thumb in a scrimmage practice on August 21, 1982. He was expected to be out of action for 3–6 weeks, team officials said.[27] When the two teams met on September 6, Walker wore a bulky, padded cast on his broken right thumb. Clemson jumped out to a 7-0 lead off QB Homer Jordan's 6-yard keeper midway through the first quarter. In this tight game, Walker was used primarily as a decoy as he rushed 11 times for 20 yards. The Georgia defense made up for its injured star player by shutting down Clemson, limiting the Tigers to 249 total yards of offense as the Bulldogs prevailed, 13-7.[28]

The season resumed as #6 Georgia faced a tough test in Brigham Young at home on September 9, 1982. BYU's Tom Holmoe returned an interception 83 yards for a TD which tied the score at 7-7 at the half. The errant throw seemed to erase Barry Young's 12-yard TD run for Georgia—which happened earlier. BYU's Steve Young (legendary QB for the San Francisco 49ers) made matters worse when he connected with Scott Collie on a 21-yard TD pass in the 3rd quarter to give Brigham Young a 14-7 lead going into the final period of play. However, Walker rallied the Bulldogs as he led them on two scoring drives that gave Georgia the win, 17-14. He scored on a 1-yard TD run with 5:36 left in the 4th quarter which tied up the score. Later, Walker converted on a huge fourth-and-1 that enabled Georgia's place kicker Kevin Butler to make a 44-yard field goal in the game's closing seconds. Walker's game-winning drive of 40 yards to set up Butler's kick covered three minutes in all—which was keyed by his 23-yard breakaway run. Walker, coming back from the thumb injury, got into a groove by rushing 31 times for 124 yards against the Cougars when the game was on the line. UGA's cornerback Ronnie Harris ended the contest by intercepting a pass from BYU's Steve Young at the Georgia 25-yard line to seal the win.[29][30]

After the difficult challenge with BYU, Walker and company won out the rest of the way through the regular season. After getting past South Carolina, 34-18, on September 25, Georgia rolled during the month of October. Walker's performance against the Gamecocks was modest (32 rushes, 143 yards, and 1 TD), but he ran hard while wearing the cast on his injured hand.[31]

In October, Georgia faced Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Memphis State beginning on October 2 and finishing out on October 30. Walker's Bulldogs slipped past Mississippi St., 29-22, as the 6-1, 220-pound junior tailback rushed 39 times for 215 yards and a touchdown against the MSU Bulldogs. Next, Georgia overwhelmed Ole Miss, 33-10, as Walker rushed 24 times for 149 yards and 3 TDs in the contest. On October 16, Georgia got past an up-and-coming Vanderbilt team (finished 8-4 in 1982) that was led by quarterback Whit Taylor (2,481 passing yards, 22 TDs in '82), 27-13. Against the Commodores, Walker ran for 172 yards and a TD off 38 carries. He received help from his teammate, safety Terry Hoage, who had 3 interceptions during the contest.[32]

Georgia finished out October by knocking off Kentucky (27-14) and Memphis State (34-3) to push its record to 8-0 going into the Florida game down in Jacksonville, Fla. Walker maintained a heavy load, carrying the Georgia ground game as he rushed 34 times against Kentucky for 152 yards. The Wildcats actually led 10-3 in the second quarter when Walker caught one of three John Lastinger touchdown passes during the game. Walker's reception came off a screen pass as he raced 64 yards to paydirt to cut the deficit to a 14-10 score. Lastinger threw two more TD's in the second half as Georgia pulled away. Walker finished with 79 receiving yards on 3 catches against Kentucky.[33] In Georgia's matchup with Memphis St., Walker shattered the Southeastern Conference career scoring record as his third-ranked Bulldogs swept past the Tigers by 31 points. He ran for a season-high 219 yards (off 33 carries) and 2 touchdowns which extended Memphis St.'s losing streak to 15 games.[34]

Georgia took control against tough opposition during the month of November. They got past Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech to complete a perfect 11-0 regular season as the No. 1 ranked team in the country. Walker dismantled Florida by scoring on touchdown runs of 30, 1, and 1 yards as Georgia led 17-0 at the half and by as much as 27-0 after his last TD during the third quarter. He rushed 35 times for 219 yards during the contest which was his signature win. "We were ready for this game," Walker said. "We were more fired up than Florida."[35] With Auburn, Georgia had to face the Tigers on November 13 in a hostile environment at Jordan-Hare Stadium in a game which was a slugfest. Walker scored on a 3-yard TD run with 8:42 left in the 4th quarter which gave UGA a 19-14 lead. Georgia hung on to win by that score as Walker finished with 31 rushes for 177 yards and a 47-yard run to go along with 2 TDs during the contest.[36]

In the last regular season game of Walker's career with the University of Georgia, the Yellow Jackets were no match as Georgia raced away with a 38-18 decision over Georgia Tech on November 27—which pitted the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs against the No. 2 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1983. Walker opened up Georgia's win over Georgia Tech by breaking five tackles and sprinting 59 yards for a score in the first quarter. Georgia led 7-6 at the half. The Bulldogs scored 17 points in the 3rd quarter which included a 1-yard TD run by Walker. He finished with 27 rushes for 162 yards against the Rambling Wreck.[37]

Once again, Georgia wrapped up its third SEC Championship in as many seasons as Walker led the way by winning the Heisman Trophy on December 4, 1982. As SEC Champion, the Bulldogs were invited to play in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on New Year's Day. However, the 10-1 Nittany Lions were ready to play as Penn State grabbed a 20-3 lead in the 2nd quarter (off two TD runs from their speedster running back, Curt Warner). Georgia's John Lastinger worked the 2-minute drill with just 0:39 remaining in the half by driving 66-yards. That drive ended with 0:05 left as Herman Archie caught a 10-yard TD pass from Lastinger to cut the score to a 20-10 deficit by halftime. Walker scored one last time in his UGA career to cut the score to a 20-17 deficit as he fell into the end zone from 1 yard out with 10:37 remaining in the third quarter. However, Penn State answered 21 seconds later as its QB Todd Blackledge completed a 46-yard TD pass to wideout Gregg Garrity. Penn State held on to win the game, 27-23, and the national championship by a unanimous voting from both the AP and UPI polls. Walker rushed 28 times for 102 yards and caught a pass for 15 yards against the Mark Robinson-led PSU defense.[38]

Statistics[edit]

Rushing Receiving
Year Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds TD
1980 274 1,616 5.9 76 15 7 70 1
1981 385 1,891 4.9 32 18 14 84 2
1982 335 1,752 5.2 59 16 5 89 1
Career 994 5,259 5.3 76 49 26 243 4

Professional career[edit]

United States Football League[edit]

United States Football League rules (unlike the NFL) allowed athletes to turn professional after their junior seasons rather than wait for their collegiate class to graduate a year later. Further, the rules allowed him to choose where to play, allowing him to maximize his endorsement income. He stated, "I don't know if I would want to play in the NFL unless it was for the two New York teams or the Dallas Cowboys." Walker signed with the New Jersey Generals in 1983, owned by Oklahoma oil tycoon J. Walter Duncan, who after the 1983 season sold the team to real-estate mogul Donald Trump. Walker attracted only one major promotional offer, a joint project of McDonald's and Adidas.

The USFL had initially followed the NFL and banned underclassmen. However, league officials concluded the rule would never stand up in court, and discarded it. To circumvent the league's $1.8-million salary cap, Walker signed a personal services contract with Duncan (later transferred to Trump.) Similar arrangements were later made with other college stars. Although this move was challenged in court, Walker and the USFL prevailed.

He won the USFL rushing title in 1983 and 1985 and in the latter year produced over 4,000 yards in total offense. He set the professional football record for single-season rushing yards with 2,411 yards in 1985, averaging 5.50 yards per attempt in 18 games. Over the course of his USFL career, Walker had 5,562 yards rushing in 1,143 carries, averaging 4.87 yards. In 1983, he rushed for 1,812 yards in 18 games. In his second season, his rushing yardage dropped to 1,339, but he caught passes for more than 800 yards giving him over 2,100 yards in total offense.[39]

Statistics[edit]

USFL Career Stats
New Jersey Generals
Rushing Receiving
Year Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds TD
1983 412 1,812 4.4 80 17 53 489 1
1984 293 1,339 4.6 69 16 40 528 5
1985 438 2,411 5.5 88 21 37 467 1
Career 1,143 5,562 4.9 88 54 130 1,484 7

National Football League[edit]

Dallas Cowboys (first stint)[edit]

The Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, suspecting that the USFL was not going to last, acquired Walker's NFL rights by drafting him in the fifth round of the 1985 NFL Draft. When the USFL succumbed after its technically successful but financially fruitless antitrust suit against the NFL in 1986, Walker came to the Cowboys as a fullback. During his first two years with the Cowboys, he shared duties with Tony Dorsett, becoming the first Heisman backfield tandem in NFL history.

He established himself as a premier NFL running back in 1988, Walker became a one-man offense, reaching his NFL career highs of 1,514 rushing yards and 505 receiving yards, while playing seven positions: halfback, fullback, tight end, H-back, wide receiver, both in the slot and as a flanker. He became just the 10th player in NFL history to amass more than 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards in a season. In the process he achieved two consecutive Pro Bowls (1987 and 1988). In 1989, at the height of his NFL career, the Cowboys traded Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for a total of five players (LB Jesse Solomon, DB Issiac Holt, RB Darrin Nelson, LB David Howard, DE Alex Stewart) and six draft picks (which led to Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith, and Darren Woodson). This was claimed to be a turning point in the rise of the Cowboys to the NFL's top echelon.

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Nicknamed the "HWT" (Herschel Walker trade), Walker's trade was widely condemned considering what the Vikings had to give up in order to get him and remains one of the most frequently vilified roster moves of that team's history. Vikings coaches only reluctantly accepted Walker after the trade and never fully exploited his talents. From the moment he arrived in Minneapolis, "Herschel Mania" erupted. After a single 2½ hour practice where he studied only 12 offensive plays, Walker had an incredible debut against the Green Bay Packers. He produced the best rushing game by a Viking back since 1983 and the first over-100 yard rushing performance by a Viking since 1987, gaining 148 yards on 18 carries.

He received three standing ovations from the record Metrodome crowd of 62,075, producing a Vikings win after four successive losses and 14 of the prior 18 matches with the Packers. His production thereafter declined. The team questioned his talent and commitment to football. He joined the Bobsled program of the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, earning a berth in the 1992 Winter Olympics. Scout.com says, "Walker was never used properly by the coaching brain trust."[40] "Herschel the Turkey", a mock honor given out by the Star Tribune newspaper to particularly inept or disgraceful Minnesota sports personalities, is named for him.[41] Walker played for the Vikings for two and a half years, never amassing 1,000 rushing yards in a season.

Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

After three seasons in Minnesota, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Walker in 1992 hoping he would be the final ingredient they needed to reach the Super Bowl. That year he enjoyed his best season as a Pro since 1988, rushing for 1,070 yards. In 1994 he became the first NFL player to have one-play gains of 90 or more yards rushing, receiving and kick-returning in a single season. He spent three seasons in Philadelphia, leaving after the Eagles signed free agent Ricky Watters.

New York Giants[edit]

The New York Giants signed him in 1995 as a third-down back, but soon discovered that Walker wasn't elusive enough for the role. He couldn't play fullback either, because of limited blocking skills. Walker led the Giants with 45 kick returns at 21.5 Y/Return in 1995, his only season with the team.

Dallas Cowboys (second stint)[edit]

He finished his football career with the Cowboys. In 1996 he rejoined the team as a kickoff return specialist and third-down back. Walker retired at the end of the 1997 season.

Statistics[edit]

NFL Career Stats
Rushing Receiving
Year Team Att Yds Avg Lng TD No. Yds Avg Lng TD
1986 DAL 151 737 4.9 84 12 76 837 11.0 84 2
1987 DAL 209 891 4.3 60 7 60 715 11.9 44 1
1988 DAL 361 1,514 4.2 38 5 53 505 9.5 50 2
1989 DAL 81 246 3.0 20 2 22 261 11.9 52 1
1989 MIN 169 669 4.0 47 5 18 162 9.0 24 2
1990 MIN 184 770 4.2 58 5 35 315 9.0 52 4
1991 MIN 198 825 4.2 71 10 33 204 6.1 32 0
1992 PHI 267 1,070 4.0 38 8 38 278 7.3 19 2
1993 PHI 174 746 4.3 35 1 75 610 8.1 41 3
1994 PHI 113 528 4.7 91 5 50 500 10.0 55 2
1995 NYG 31 126 4.1 36 0 31 234 7.5 93 1
1996 DAL 10 83 8.3 39 1 7 89 12.7 34 0
1997 DAL 6 20 3.3 11 0 14 149 10.6 24 2
Totals 1,954 8,225 4.2 91 61 512 4,859 9.5 93 21

Legacy[edit]

Walker rushed for 5,562 yards in his USFL career.[42] His combined rushing numbers for the USFL and the NFL (13,787 yards) would place him 5th All-Time on the NFL's career rushing list.[43] In 12 NFL seasons, Walker gained 8,225 rushing yards, 4,859 receiving yards, and 5,084 kickoff-return yards.[44] for 18,168 total combined net yards, ranking him second among the NFL's all-time leaders in total yardage as of his retirement; as of the start of the 2007 NFL season, ten years later, he still ranked eighth.[45] He scored 84 touchdowns: 61 rushing, 21 receiving and returned two kick-offs for touchdowns.[44] Walker is the only other player besides Derrick Mason to have 10,000+ yards from scrimmage and 5,000+ return yards (all of which were on kickoff returns).

He is the only player to gain 4,000 yards three different ways: rushing, receiving and kickoff returns. He is one of six players (Jim Brown, Lenny Moore, Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk and Thurman Thomas) to exceed 60 touchdowns rushing and 20 touchdowns receiving. He is the only NFL player with a 90+ yard reception, 90+ yard run and a 90+ yard kickoff return in one season (1994). He is the only player to record an 84+ yard touchdown run and an 84+ yard touchdown reception in the same game (December 14, 1986). He had 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving that day.

Walker is regarded as one of the top college running backs of all time. In 1999, he was selected to Sports Illustrated's NCAA Football All-Century Team.[46] On the Fox Sports Net show Sports List, Walker was named the best college football running back of all time and was selected as the third greatest player in college football history by ESPN.[47] Georgia retired Walker's number "34".

While Walker had a successful NFL career, he never played on a championship team. The move to Minnesota was the turning point in his NFL tenure. In 2008, the trade was selected by SI.com as the worst sports trade of all time. It was the subject of an episode of ESPN Classic's The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame.... In 2003 Johnson County High School named its football field in his honor.[48] Walker was a highly popular and visible personality, even in his college days, as evidenced by the fact that both a thoroughbred and a standardbred race horse were named after him, the former while he was still in college. He made several appearances in the sports documentary Damn Good Dog (2004).[49]

On January 29, 2011 Walker announced that he was considering a return to the NFL. "I've told everyone that at 50 I might try football again to show people I can do that," Walker said. "I want to be the George Foreman of football, come back and do that one more time... The two teams I would come back to play for are Minnesota or Atlanta. It would probably be Atlanta because that's home for me." According to Walker, his mixed martial arts training made him, "a much better-conditioned athlete now than when I was playing football. I'm 48 and in better shape now than I was when I was in my early 20s, playing football."[50]

Personal[edit]

Walker married his college sweetheart, Cindy DeAngelis Grossman in 1983. After 19 years they divorced in 2002.[51] They have one son together, Christian. Walker is a born-again Christian. He made a guest appearance on The Hour of Power, hosted by televangelist Robert Schuller. Walker has a fifth-degree black belt in tae kwon do. He competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in two-man bobsled, finishing seventh.[52]

In 1988, while still a Dallas Cowboy, he danced with the Fort Worth Ballet for a single performance.[53] He won back-to-back American Superstars competitions in 1987 and 1988.

In 2014, Walker appeared in a commercial paid for by the United States Chamber of Commerce supporting Jack Kingston's bid in the Republican Party primary election for the 2014 U.S. Senate election.[54]

Training and diet[edit]

Walker is known for his unorthodox training and dieting methods. Walker claims he sleeps five hours a night and eats only one meal a day (skipping breakfast and lunch). Walker also claims his diet is made up mostly of soup, bread and salad.

Walker has participated in a variety of sports including football, Olympic bobsledding, track and field, taekwondo, and ballet dancing. Instead of lifting weights, he has a daily regimen of 750 to 1,500 push-ups and 2,000 sit-ups.[55] He has been going through this same routine since high school.[56]

Dissociative Identity Disorder[edit]

Walker at Fort Gordon, about his new book, "Breaking Free, My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder"

Walker claims he has the mental condition dissociative identity disorder (DID), also known as multiple personality disorder. He describes it to ABILITY Magazine as "I would say that we wear different hats in different situations. You have a white hat for your home life. You have a red hat for work. As an athlete, you’ve got a green hat for competition. But with DID, your hats get all mixed up, meaning that your hat for competition has now become your home hat, your home hat has become your work hat, your work hat has become some other hat and so on. DID is a coping mechanism to help you overcome something."[57]

On October 11, 2011, he visited the Central Park Campus of Collin College in McKinney, Texas, to discuss his dissociative identity disorder and ways to help change the conversation about mental health. The event was hosted by Ascend Health Corporation and the local chapter of Active Minds, a national organization that unites students in the goal to de-stigmatize mental health issues within the college and surrounding communities.[58] He was a contestant in the second season of the Donald Trump reality television show Celebrity Apprentice. Although he owns a food service company,[59] he was fired during the 8th episode for failing as Project Manager on a task to create a new meal for Schwan's LiveSmart frozen food line.[60] Throughout the season, each celebrity raised money for a charity of his or her choice; Walker selected "Alternative Community Development Services."

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Herschel Walker
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg; 16 st)
Division Heavyweight
Reach 74.0 in (188 cm)
Stance Orthodox
Team American Kickboxing Academy
Rank 5th-degree black belt in Taekwondo
Years active 2010–2011
Mixed martial arts record
Total 2
Wins 2
By knockout 2
Losses 0
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

In November 2007, Walker appeared on the HDNet show Inside MMA as a guest. He indicated that he would take part in a mixed martial arts reality show in the near future (along with José Canseco) and that he would have an official MMA fight at the conclusion of the show.[61] In September 2009, it was announced that Herschel had been signed by MMA promotion company Strikeforce to compete in their heavyweight division.[62]

He began a 12-week training camp with trainer "Crazy" Bob Cook at the AKA American Kickboxing Academy in October 2009 in San Jose, California.[63][64] In his MMA debut on January 30, 2010, Walker defeated Greg Nagy via technical knock-out due to strikes at Strikeforce: Miami.[65][66] According to Scott Coker, the Strikeforce CEO, Walker pledged to donate his fight purse to charity.[67] Scott Coker announced Walker would fight again on December 4, 2010 in St. Louis, Mo.[68]

Strikeforce confirmed that Walker would face former WEC fighter Scott Carson when he made his second appearance in the Strikeforce cage.[69] Walker was forced off the Strikeforce card on December 4 due to a cut suffered in training that required seven stitches. They fought instead on January 29, 2011, and Walker defeated Carson via TKO (strikes) at 3:13 of round 1.[70]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 2–0 Scott Carson TKO (punches) Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg January 29, 2011 1 3:13 San Jose, California, United States
Win 1–0 Greg Nagy TKO (punches) Strikeforce: Miami January 30, 2010 3 2:17 Sunrise, Florida, United States


References[edit]

  1. ^ Kirkpatrick, Curry (October 3, 2007). "Walker: A Renaissance Man". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ Hoppes, Lynn. "After MMA, Herschel Walker thinks about public office - Page 2". ESPN. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Nearing 50, Renaissance jock Herschel Walker breaks fitness rules". CNN. October 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Trojan 70's". Johnson County Trojans Website. September 19, 2007. Retrieved November 14, 2007. "The Trojans, led by Herschel Walker won their second consecutive Region 3-A championship and their first State Championship. Herschel finished the season with 3,167 yards." 
  5. ^ Wine, Steven (January 3, 2012). "Utah Local News". The Salt Lake Tribune. Miami: sltrib.com. Associated Press. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  6. ^ "1980 Heisman Trophy". Retrieved November 15, 2007. [dead link]
  7. ^ "1982 Heisman Trophy". Retrieved December 3, 2007. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Herschel Walkers". College Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 15, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Georgia Signs Herschel Walker". Spartanburg Herald (Spartanburg, South Carolina). Associated Press. April 7, 1980. p. B1. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Smith, Loran; Grizzard, Lewis (1981). GLORY! GLORY!. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers Limited. pp. 73–89. ISBN 9780931948183. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  11. ^ Smith, Loran; Grizzard, Lewis (1981). GLORY! GLORY!. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers Limited. p. 203. ISBN 9780931948183. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ Smith, Loran; Grizzard, Lewis (1981). GLORY! GLORY!. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers Limited. pp. 204–207. ISBN 9780931948183. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ Smith, Loran; Grizzard, Lewis (1981). GLORY! GLORY!. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers Limited. pp. 90–97, 204. ISBN 9780931948183. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  14. ^ Smith, Loran; Grizzard, Lewis (1981). GLORY! GLORY!. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers Limited. p. 209. ISBN 9780931948183. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  15. ^ Smith, Loran; Grizzard, Lewis (1981). GLORY! GLORY!. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers Limited. pp. 114–159, 210. ISBN 9780931948183. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  16. ^ Smith, Loran; Grizzard, Lewis (1981). GLORY! GLORY!. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers Limited. pp. 160–169, 211–212. ISBN 9780931948183. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  17. ^ Smith, Loran; Grizzard, Lewis (1981). GLORY! GLORY!. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers Limited. pp. 170–190, 213. ISBN 9780931948183. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  18. ^ Smith, Loran; Grizzard, Lewis (1981). GLORY! GLORY!. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers Limited. pp. 190, 201. ISBN 9780931948183. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ Outlar, Jessie (September 6, 1981). "The Beat Goes On...Georgia 44, Tennessee 0". The Atlanta Journal-The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia). pp. 1C, 10C. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Clemson Steals 13-3 Upset Win Over Georgia". Gainesville Sun (Gainesville, Fla.). September 20, 1981. p. 6D. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Georgia thumps Gamecocks". Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.). September 27, 1981. p. 4D. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  22. ^ Nissenson, Herschel (November 7, 1981). "College Football Roundup--Allen, McMahon, Northwestern Set Records". Schenectady Gazette (Schenectady, N.Y.). p. 38. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Dooley says 'Dogs deserve Sugar bid". The Tuscaloosa News (Tuscaloosa, Ala.). November 15, 1981. pp. 2B, 3B. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  24. ^ Shearer, Ed (December 6, 1981). "Walker wrecks Tech, 44-7". Gadsden Times (Gadsden, Ala.). p. 17. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Pittsburgh Nips Georgia In Sugar Bowl, 24-20". The News and Courier (Charleston, S.C.). January 2, 1982. p. 1-C. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Pitt Dashes Bulldogs Hopes 24-20, In 1982 Sugar Bowl". GEORGIA BULLDOG FOOTBALL - 1984 (Sports Information Office - Georgia Athletic Dept. - The University of Georgia): 100. 1984. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Walker Breaks Thumb". Oscala Star-Banner (Oscala, Fla.). August 22, 1982. p. 1C. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Walker injects life into Georgia". Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.). September 8, 1982. p. 2D. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Georgia. 17-14". The Day (New London, Conn.). September 12, 1982. p. C7. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Defense helps Georgia squeeze past Cougars". Gadsden Times (Gadsden, Ala.). September 12, 1982. p. 3B. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Georgia, 34-18". Eugene Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon). September 26, 1982. p. 8B. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Georgia Overcomes Vanderbilt, 27-13". The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Penn.). October 17, 1982. p. D-4. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  33. ^ "'Dogs Need Rally For 27-14 Win". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.). October 24, 1982. p. 7. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Florida edges Auburn on final play". Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.). October 31, 1982. p. 4D. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Fired-up Dogs fry Florida". Rome News-Tribune (Rome, Ga.). November 7, 1982. p. 1-C. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  36. ^ Kendall, Josh (November 15, 2002). "Georgia, Auburn no strangers to playing for titles". OnlineAthens.com. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Walker, Dogs Topple Tech". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.). November 28, 1982. p. 16-B. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Penn State No 1". The Milwaukee Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wis.). January 3, 1983. p. 6, part 2. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  39. ^ "This is the USFL Yearly Leaders". The USFL Fan Club. Retrieved November 16, 2007. 
  40. ^ Viking Update Staff (June 20, 2001). "History: Walker Trade". Scout.com. Retrieved January 29, 2008. 
  41. ^ Reusse, Patrick (November 22, 2006). "Banquet packs 'em in, winner drives 'em out". Star Tribune. Retrieved November 15, 2007. 
  42. ^ "United States Football League Players O-Z". 
  43. ^ "Pro Football Reference". 
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  45. ^ "Top 20 - Combined Net yards". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 11, 2007. 
  46. ^ Maisel, Ivan (August 16, 1999). "SI's NCAA Football All-Century Team". Sports Illustrated. ISSN 0038-822X. Retrieved November 15, 2007. 
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  49. ^ "IMDb". 
  50. ^ "Herschel back in purple?". StarTribune.com. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  51. ^ "Interview with ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. April 14, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  52. ^ Todor Krastev (February 5, 2006). "Bobsleigh Doubles Olympic Games 1992 Albertville". Retrieved November 15, 2007. 
  53. ^ Thomas C. Hayes (April 11, 1988). "Walker Balances Bulk With Ballet". New York Times. 
  54. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/05/28/football-great-herschel-walker-joins-the-ranks-of-jeb-bush-and-marco-rubio/
  55. ^ Nearing 50, Renaissance jock Herschel Walker breaks fitness rules October 11, 2010 CNN Health
  56. ^ Andrew Gladstone (Correspondent) (January 29, 2011). "Strikeforce's Herschel Walker Considering Return To Legendary Football Career". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  57. ^ "Herschel Walker — Interview". ABILITY Magazine (Herschel Walker Issue). Jun–Jul 2008. 
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  59. ^ "Herschel's Famous 33 and H. Walker Foods". Retrieved May 11, 2009. 
  60. ^ He was fired from the show on April 17.Trump Rounds Up Celebs for New Season of the Apprentice NY Times, January 7, 2009
  61. ^ "Episode 109". Inside MMA. 2007-11-09. HDNet. http://www.hd.net/imma109.html.
  62. ^ Hendricks, Maggie (September 21, 2009). "Former NFLer Herschel Walker signed with Strikeforce". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  63. ^ Non, Sergio (January 14, 2010). "Herschel Walker puts his life into American Kickboxing Academy's hands". USA Today. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  64. ^ Chiappetta, Mike (December 4, 2009). "Herschel Walker Begins AKA Training for Jan. 30 Strikeforce Debut". MMAFighting.com. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  65. ^ "Nearing 50, Renaissance jock Herschel Walker breaks fitness rules". CNN. October 11, 2010. 
  66. ^ Gentile, Kathy (January 30, 2010). "Match Results" (PDF). Tallahassee, Florida: Florida State Boxing Commission. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  67. ^ "Herschel Walker Donating MMA Debut Fight Purse to Charity". MMAWeekly.com. December 20, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  68. ^ Martin, Damon (November 2, 2010). "Herschel Walker's Next Strikeforce Opponent to be Revealed Friday". MMAWeekly.com. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  69. ^ Pishna, Ken (November 6, 2010). "Herschel Walker Faces Scott Carson in MMA Return for Strikeforce". MMAWeekly.com. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  70. ^ Al, Shaun. "Herschel Walker Hoping For One Final Fight Despite Worries From Family - MMA Nation". Mma.sbnation.com. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 

External links[edit]


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603 news items

CBSSports.com

CBSSports.com
Sat, 18 Oct 2014 12:41:15 -0700

As a Heisman Trophy-winner, former Georgia running back Herschel Walker has a vote for the award, and while there's still a lot of season left to be played, we already know two players Walker won't vote for. During an appearance on The Paul Finebaum ...

ESPN

ESPN
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:15:43 -0700

In 1989, the largest trade in NFL history sent Herschel Walker from Dallas to Minnesota. The Vikings ruined what looked to be a budding dynasty by selling the farm for Walker. Dallas became the team of the 1990's, restoring its place as America's Team.

NBCSports.com

NBCSports.com
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:39:11 -0700

Herschel Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Georgia, believes integrity is a big part of the process. His belief prevented him from voting for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston last year, and he doesn't plan on voting ...

Deadspin

Deadspin
Sun, 12 Oct 2014 10:22:05 -0700

It was 25 years ago today that the Cowboys traded superstar running back Herschel Walker to the Vikings for a mess of players and picks, a number of whom would be crucial pieces in Dallas's '90s dynasty. It's gone down as one of football's shrewdest ...

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 07:37:37 -0700

While many have sided with the athletes, one former Heisman Trophy winner feels differently. According to comments from an appearance on ESPN's Paul Finebaum Show (via Kipp Adams of 247Sports), former University of Georgia star Herschel Walker is of ...

CNN

TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press (blog)
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:37:30 -0700

Herschel Walker has been hoping Todd Gurley would become Georgia's first Heisman Trophy winner since Walker won it in 1982. On Thursday, Walker was stunned to hear Gurley has been suspended indefinitely by the school. There have been multiple ...
 
SI.com
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:29:04 -0700

Former Georgia great Herschel Walker said on ESPN Radio's "Paul Finebaum Show" that he currently wouldn't vote for Todd Gurley or Jameis Winston for the Heisman Trophy. Walker, who has a vote for the trophy because he won it himself in 1982, wouldn't ...

Jacksonville Daily Record

Jacksonville Daily Record
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 08:21:59 -0700

After a news conference Tuesday, former University of Georgia and NFL running back Herschel Walker posed for a selfie with Congregation Ahavath Chesed Senior Rabbi Joshua Lief, chairman of JCCI's board of directors.
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