Herschel Walker is a former professional American football player, bobsledder, s printer and 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. Walker, as running back, was the most sought after high school football player in the nation. Walker helped his Georgia Bulldogs complete a 12–0 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. Walker led the way as Georgia wrapped up its third SEC Championship in as many seasons. On December 4, 1982, and Walker was awarded the Heisman Trophy.
He won the USFL (United States Football League) rushing title in 1983 and 1985. 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. Walker rushed for 5,562 yards in his USFL career.
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. His combined all purpose yards for the USFL and the NFL (25,283 yards) would place him 1st All-Time on the NFL’s list. In 12 NFL seasons, Walker gained 8,225 rushing yards, 4,859 receiving yards, and 5,084 kickoff-return yards. 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.
He scored 84 touchdowns: 61 rushing, 21 receiving and returned two kick-offs for touchdowns. 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 several players to exceed 60 touchdowns rushing and 20 touchdowns receiving. He is the only NFL player with a 55+ 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. 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.
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. 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).
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.”
While still an active NFL player, Walker competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, as a member of the United States’ bobsleigh team. Originally selected for the four-man team, he eventually competed as the brakeman, or pusher, in the two-man competition. Walker and his teammate Brian Shimer placed seventh; see complete results in bobsleigh at the 1992 Winter Olympics.
Mixed martial arts career:
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. In September 2009, it was announced that Herschel had been signed by MMA promotion company Strikeforce to compete in their heavyweight division.
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. In his MMA debut on January 30, 2010, Walker defeated Greg Nagy via technical knock-out due to strikes at Strikeforce: Miami.
According to Scott Coker, the Strikeforce CEO, Walker pledged to donate his fight purse to charity. Scott Coker announced Walker would fight again on December 4, 2010 in St. Louis, Mo. Strikeforce confirmed that Walker would face former WEC fighter Scott Carson when he made his second appearance in the Strikeforce cage.
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.
A true legend in multiple sport disciplines.