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Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker

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Herschel Junior Walker is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 mixed martial artist and a former American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 player. He played college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

 for the University of Georgia
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university located in Athens, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest and largest of the state's institutions of higher learning and is one of multiple schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States...

 Bulldogs
Georgia Bulldogs
The Georgia Bulldogs are the athletic teams of the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I and are members of the Southeastern Conference...

 and earned the 1982 Heisman Trophy
Heisman Trophy
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award , is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football. It was created in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club trophy and renamed in 1936 following the death of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman The Heisman Memorial...

. He began his professional career with the New Jersey Generals
New Jersey Generals
The New Jersey Generals were a franchise of the United States Football League established in 1982 to begin play in the spring and summer of 1983. The team played three seasons from 1983-85, winning 31 regular-season games and losing 25 while going 0-2 in postseason competition...

 of the United States Football League
United States Football League
The United States Football League was an American football league which was in active operation from 1983 to 1987. It played a spring/summer schedule in its first three seasons and a traditional autumn/winter schedule was set to commence before league operations ceased.The USFL was conceived in...

 (USFL) before entering the National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 (NFL). In the NFL he played for the Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football franchise which plays in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League . They are headquartered in Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas...

, Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings joined the National Football League as an expansion team in 1960...

, Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are a professional American football team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are members of the East Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 and New York Giants
New York Giants
The New York Giants are a professional American football team based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, representing the New York City metropolitan area. The Giants are currently members of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

 in 1999.

Early life


Walker was born in Wrightsville, Georgia
Wrightsville, Georgia
Wrightsville is a city in Johnson County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,223 at the 2000 census. It was established February 23, 1886. It was named for James B. Wright, one of the members of the committee responsible for selecting the site for the town...

 to John Willis and Christine Walker. He was raised as one of seven children in a blue collar
Blue-collar worker
A blue-collar worker is a member of the working class who performs manual labor. Blue-collar work may involve skilled or unskilled, manufacturing, mining, construction, mechanical, maintenance, technical installation and many other types of physical work...

 family
Family
In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children...

. Walker said that as a child he was overweight
Overweight
Overweight is generally defined as having more body fat than is optimally healthy. Being overweight is a common condition, especially where food supplies are plentiful and lifestyles are sedentary...

 and was born with a speech impediment. Walker's mother taught him not to use these problems as excuses in life. Walker was able to overcome his speech impediment with the help of Ryan Nielsen, his long-time and most trusted friend.

High school (1975–1979)


Walker played for the Johnson County High School Trojans in Wrightsville, Georgia
Wrightsville, Georgia
Wrightsville is a city in Johnson County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,223 at the 2000 census. It was established February 23, 1886. It was named for James B. Wright, one of the members of the committee responsible for selecting the site for the town...

 from 1975–1979. In 1979, he rushed for 3,167 yards, helping the Trojans to their first state championship. He was awarded the first Dial Award
Dial Award
For the literary award presented by The Dial magazine in the 1920s, see The Dial.The Dial Award was presented annually by the Dial Corporation to the male and female American high-school athlete/scholar of the year.-Awardees:...

 for the national high school scholar-athlete of the year in 1979.

College career (1980–1982)


Walker played running back
Running back
A running back is a gridiron football position, who is typically lined up in the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block.There are usually one or two running...

 for the University of Georgia
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university located in Athens, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest and largest of the state's institutions of higher learning and is one of multiple schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States...

, where he was a 3-time All-America
All-America
An All-America team is an honorary sports team composed of outstanding amateur players—those considered the best players of a specific season for each team position—who in turn are given the honorific "All-America" and typically referred to as "All-American athletes", or simply...

n and winner of the 1982 Heisman Trophy
Heisman Trophy
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award , is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football. It was created in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club trophy and renamed in 1936 following the death of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman The Heisman Memorial...

 and Maxwell Award
Maxwell Award
The Maxwell Award is presented annually to the collegiate American football player judged by a panel of sportscasters, sportswriters, and National Collegiate Athletic Association head coaches and the membership of the Maxwell Football Club to be the best football player in the United States. The...

. He is the only player in NCAA history to finish in the top 3 in Heisman voting every season he played football. During his freshman season in 1980, Walker set the NCAA freshman rushing record and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting.

He played a major role in helping Georgia
Georgia Bulldogs
The Georgia Bulldogs are the athletic teams of the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I and are members of the Southeastern Conference...

 go undefeated that year and win the National Championship with a victory over Notre Dame
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame's nickname is inherited from Irish immigrant soldiers who fought in the Civil War with the Union's Irish Brigade, , recollected among other places in the poetry of Joyce Kilmer who served with one of the Irish Brigade regiments during World War I...

 in the Sugar Bowl
1981 Sugar Bowl
The 1981 edition to the Sugar Bowl featured the top ranked Georgia Bulldogs, and the seventh ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.In the first quarter, Notre Dame scored on a 50 yard Oliver field goal, giving the Irish a 3-0 lead. Another Notre Dame scoring opportunity in the first quarter was foiled...

. He would go on to win the Heisman in his junior year. In 1999, Walker was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

 and is considered one of the greatest players in college football history.

College football statistics

Rushing Receiving
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LP TD NO. YDS TD
1980 274 1,616 5.9 76 15 7 70 0
1981 385 1,891 4.9 32 18 14 84 2
1982 335 1,752 5.2 59 16 5 89 1

United States Football League (1983–1985)


With the formation of the United States Football League
United States Football League
The United States Football League was an American football league which was in active operation from 1983 to 1987. It played a spring/summer schedule in its first three seasons and a traditional autumn/winter schedule was set to commence before league operations ceased.The USFL was conceived in...

, Walker saw an opportunity to do something then forbidden by NFL rules—to turn professional after the end of his junior season rather than wait for his collegiate class to graduate the next year. He also sought to choose where he would play professionally, as he felt he could make considerable money from product endorsements, as he was quoted on one occasion: "I don't know if I would want to play in the NFL unless it was for the two New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 teams or the Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football franchise which plays in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League . They are headquartered in Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas...

." With endorsement considerations in mind, Walker signed with the New Jersey Generals
New Jersey Generals
The New Jersey Generals were a franchise of the United States Football League established in 1982 to begin play in the spring and summer of 1983. The team played three seasons from 1983-85, winning 31 regular-season games and losing 25 while going 0-2 in postseason competition...

 in 1983, owned by Oklahoma oil tycoon J. Walter Duncan, who after the 1983 season sold the team to real-estate mogul Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Donald John Trump, Sr. is an American business magnate, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump's extravagant lifestyle, outspoken manner and role on the NBC reality show The Apprentice have...

. Walker attracted only one major advertising deal, a joint promotion by McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 and Adidas
Adidas
Adidas AG is a German sports apparel manufacturer and parent company of the Adidas Group, which consists of the Reebok sportswear company, TaylorMade-Adidas golf company , and Rockport...

.

The USFL had initially followed the lead of the NFL and banned underclassmen from signing. However, league officials concluded the rule would never stand up in court, and allowed the signing. In order to circumvent the league-mandated $1.8-million salary cap, Walker signed a personal services contract with Duncan (later compensated by Trump) to the protest of no one, as the other owners appreciated Walker's name value to the league. Similar arrangements were made later when other big-name college stars signed with the league. Although this move was challenged in court, Walker and the USFL prevailed and Walker began play with the Generals.

He went on to win the USFL rushing title in 1983 and 1985 and in the latter year also gained over 4,000 yards in total offense. He holds the professional football record for single-season rushing yards with 2,411 yards in 1985, averaging 5.50 yards per attempt in 18 games. In his USFL career, Walker had 5,562 yards rushing in 1,143 carries, averaging 4.87 yards per carry, during his three seasons with the Generals. In 1983, he rushed for 1,812 yards in 18 games. In his second pro 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.

Dallas Cowboys (first stint)


The Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football franchise which plays in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League . They are headquartered in Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas...

 of the National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

, suspecting that the USFL
United States Football League
The United States Football League was an American football league which was in active operation from 1983 to 1987. It played a spring/summer schedule in its first three seasons and a traditional autumn/winter schedule was set to commence before league operations ceased.The USFL was conceived in...

 was not going to last, acquired Walker's NFL rights by drafting
NFL Draft
The National Football League Draft is an annual event in which the National Football League teams select eligible college football players and it is their most common source of player recruitment. The basic design of the draft is each team is given a position in the drafting order in reverse order...

 him in the fifth round of the 1985 NFL Draft
1985 NFL Draft
The 1985 NFL Draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 30 and May 1, 1985...

.

When the USFL
United States Football League
The United States Football League was an American football league which was in active operation from 1983 to 1987. It played a spring/summer schedule in its first three seasons and a traditional autumn/winter schedule was set to commence before league operations ceased.The USFL was conceived in...

 succumbed after its technically successful but financially fruitless antitrust
Antitrust
The United States antitrust law is a body of laws that prohibits anti-competitive behavior and unfair business practices. Antitrust laws are intended to encourage competition in the marketplace. These competition laws make illegal certain practices deemed to hurt businesses or consumers or both,...

 suit against the NFL in 1986
1986 NFL season
The 1986 NFL season was the 67th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XXI when the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos to win their first league title in 30 years.-Major rule changes:...

, Walker came to the Cowboys as a phenomenal athlete. He possessed world class speed in a fullback
Fullback (American football)
A fullback is a position in the offensive backfield in American and Canadian football, and is one of the two running back positions along with the halfback...

 body, needed just five hours of sleep a night, ate only one meal a day and instead of lifting weights like most other players, he had a daily regimen of 3,500 sit-ups, 1,500 push-ups and ran eight miles. Additionaly, he never tasted beer or liquor and never took aspirin or other type of medication.

During his first two years with the Cowboys, he shared duties with Tony Dorsett
Tony Dorsett
Anthony "Tony" Drew Dorsett is a former American football running back in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos.-Early years:...

, becoming the first Heisman
Heisman Trophy
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award , is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football. It was created in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club trophy and renamed in 1936 following the death of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman The Heisman Memorial...

 backfield tandem in NFL history. During that time he established himself as a premier NFL running back
Running back
A running back is a gridiron football position, who is typically lined up in the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block.There are usually one or two running...

, but when Dorsett was traded to the Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos are a professional American football team based in Denver, Colorado. They are currently members of the West Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

 in 1988
1988 NFL season
The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division....

, Walker became a one-man offense, reaching NFL career highs of 1,514 rushing yards and 505 receiving yards, while playing seven different positions: halfback
Halfback (American football)
A halfback, sometimes referred to as a tailback, is an offensive position in American football, which lines up in the backfield and generally is responsible for carrying the ball on run plays. Historically, from the 1870s through the 1950s, the halfback position was both an offensive and defensive...

, fullback
Fullback (American football)
A fullback is a position in the offensive backfield in American and Canadian football, and is one of the two running back positions along with the halfback...

, tight end
Tight end
The tight end is a position in American football on the offense. The tight end is often seen as a hybrid position with the characteristics and roles of both an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. Like offensive linemen, they are usually lined up on the offensive line and are large enough to be...

, H-back
H-back
An H-Back is an offensive position in American football, and is also known as power back. The position is a hybrid of a fullback and a tight end. The position was made notable in the NFL by the Washington Redskins under head coach Joe Gibbs who ran a two tight end system...

, wide receiver
Wide receiver
A wide receiver is an offensive position in American and Canadian football, and is the key player in most of the passing plays. Only players in the backfield or the ends on the line are eligible to catch a forward pass. The two players who begin play at the ends of the offensive line are eligible...

, both in the slot and as a flanker. He became just the 10th player in NFL history to amass more than 2,000 combined yards rushing and receiving in a season. In the process he achieved two consecutive Pro-Bowls (1987
1987 NFL season
The 1987 NFL season was the 68th regular season of the National Football League. A 24-day players' strike reduced the 16-game season to 15. The games that were scheduled for the third week of the season were canceled, but the games for weeks 4–6 were played with replacement players...

 and 1988
1988 NFL season
The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division....

).

In 1989
1989 NFL season
The 1989 NFL season was the 70th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle announced his retirement...

, at the height of his NFL career, the Cowboys traded Walker
Herschel Walker trade
The Herschel Walker trade, also known as "The Great Train Robbery", was the largest player trade in the history of the National Football League. It involved 18 players and draft picks...

 to the Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings joined the National Football League as an expansion team in 1960...

 for a total of five players (LB Jesse Solomon
Jesse Solomon
Jesse William Solomon is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League from 1986 to 1994 for the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, and the Miami Dolphins. He played college football at Florida State University and was drafted in the...

, DB Issiac Holt
Issiac Holt
Issiac Holt, III is a former professional American football cornerback in the National Football League for the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys....

, RB Darrin Nelson
Darrin Nelson
Darren Milo Nelson is a former professional American football player in the National Football League....

, LB David Howard, DE Alex Stewart) and six draft picks (which led to Emmitt Smith
Emmitt Smith
Emmitt James Smith, III is a retired American football player who was a running back in the National Football League for fifteen seasons during the 1990s and 2000s. Smith played college football for the University of Florida, where he was an All-American; thereafter, he played professionally for...

, Russell Maryland
Russell Maryland
Russell James Maryland is a former professional American football player. He played defensive tackle for ten seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers of the National Football League . He was drafted by the Cowboys first overall in the 1991 NFL Draft...

, Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith (cornerback)
Kevin Rey Smith is a former professional American football player who played cornerback in the National Football League for nine seasons for the Dallas Cowboys.-High school career:...

, and Darren Woodson
Darren Woodson
Darren Ray Woodson is a former American football safety in the National Football League. He played his entire career for the Dallas Cowboys from 1992 to 2004...

). This was judged to be one of the turning points in the rise of the Cowboys to the top echelon of the NFL.

Minnesota Vikings


Nicknamed the "HWT" (Herschel Walker trade
Herschel Walker trade
The Herschel Walker trade, also known as "The Great Train Robbery", was the largest player trade in the history of the National Football League. It involved 18 players and draft picks...

), Walker's trade was widely perceived as an exceptionally poor move considering what the Vikings had to give up in order to get him and remains one of the most frequently vilified roster moves of the team's history. The Vikings coaches reluctantly accepted Walker after the trade and never totally used the tool they had been given.

From the moment he arrived in Minneapolis there was Herschel Mania everywhere he went. After a a 2 ½ hour practice session where he was just taught 12 offensive plays, Walker had an incredible debut against the Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are an American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The Packers are the current NFL champions...

, where he produced the best rushing game by a Viking back since 1983
1983 NFL season
The 1983 NFL season was the 64th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XVIII when the Los Angeles Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins.-Major rule changes:...

 and the first 100 yards rushing performance by a Viking since 1987
1987 NFL season
The 1987 NFL season was the 68th regular season of the National Football League. A 24-day players' strike reduced the 16-game season to 15. The games that were scheduled for the third week of the season were canceled, but the games for weeks 4–6 were played with replacement players...

, gaining 148 yards on 18 carries. That day he received three standing ovations from the record Metrodome crowd of 62,075, with the Vikings winning the game after previously having lost four successive games and 14 of 18 games to the Packers.
His production went downhill form there, with the team questioning his talent and commitment to football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

, especially after he got involved in the Bobsled program of the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
The United States Bobsled & Skeleton Federation is the official national governing body for bobsled and skeleton in the United States...

, that eventually led him to participate in the 1992 Winter Olympics
1992 Winter Olympics
The 1992 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVI Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 8 to 23 February 1992 in Albertville, France. They were the last Winter Olympics to be held the same year as the Summer Olympics, and the first where the Winter Paralympics...

.

Scout.com
Scout.com
Scout.com is an integrated sports publishing company that produces both an Internet and print product. Scout has more than 2.1 million visitors...

 says, "Walker was never used properly by the coaching brain trust." "Herschel the Turkey", a mock honor given out by the Star Tribune
Star Tribune
The Star Tribune is the largest newspaper in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is published seven days each week in an edition for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area. A statewide version is also available across Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The...

newspaper to particularly inept or disgraceful Minnesota sports personalities, is named for him. Walker played for the Vikings for two and a half years, never amassing 1,000 rushing yards in a season.

Philadelphia Eagles


After 3 seasons in Minnesota, the Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are a professional American football team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are members of the East Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 signed Walker in 1992
1992 NFL season
The 1992 NFL season was the 73rd regular season of the National Football League.Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew, the New England Patriots–Miami Dolphins game that was scheduled for September 6 at Joe Robbie Stadium was rescheduled to October 18. Both teams originally had that...

 hoping he would be the final ingredient they needed to reach the Super Bowl
Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League , the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather...

. That year he enjoyed his best season as a Pro since 1988
1988 NFL season
The 1988 NFL season was the 69th regular season of the National Football League. The Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area becoming the Phoenix Cardinals but remained in the NFC East division....

 by rushing for 1,070 yards and in 1994
1994 NFL season
The 1994 NFL season was the 75th regular season of the National Football League. To honor the NFL's 75th season, a special anniversary logo was designed and each player wore a patch on their jerseys with this logo throughout the season...

 he became the first player in NFL history to have gains of 90 or more yards rushing, receiving and kick-returning in a single season. He spent 3 season in Philadelphia, leaving after the Eagles signed free agent Ricky Watters
Ricky Watters
Richard "Ricky" James Watters is a former American football running back who played for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. Watters played college football at the University of Notre Dame where he played wide receiver on the...

.

NY Giants


The New York Giants
New York Giants
The New York Giants are a professional American football team based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, representing the New York City metropolitan area. The Giants are currently members of the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 signed him in 1995
1995 NFL season
The 1995 NFL season was the 76th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded to 30 teams with the addition of the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars...

 to replace third-down back Dave Meggett
Dave Meggett
David Lee Meggett is a former professional American football running back in the National Football League for the New York Giants , New England Patriots , and the New York Jets . He played college football at Morgan State University and Towson University...

, but soon discovered that Walker wasn't elusive enough for the role and couldn't play him at fullback
Fullback (American football)
A fullback is a position in the offensive backfield in American and Canadian football, and is one of the two running back positions along with the halfback...

 either, because he wasn't that strong of a blocker. He lasted just one season.

Dallas Cowboys (second stint)


In 1996
1996 NFL season
The 1996 NFL season was the 77th regular season of the National Football League and the season was marked by notable controversies from beginning to end...

 he was re-acquired by the Cowboys, where he played his final 2 seasons as a kickoff return specialist and third-down back. Walker retired at the end of the 1997 season
1997 NFL season
The 1997 NFL season was the 78th regular season of the National Football League. The Oilers relocated from Houston, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee...

 as one of the most versatile players of all time, after gaining over 8,000 yards rushing in the NFL, over 4,000 yards receiving and over 5,000 kickoff return yards.

Legacy


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. In 12 NFL seasons, Walker gained 8,225 rushing yards, 4,859 receiving yards, and 5,084 kickoff-return yards. This gave him 18,168 total combined net yards, ranking him second among the NFL's all-time leaders in total yardage at the time of his retirement; as of the start of the 2007 NFL season, ten years after his retirement, he still ranks eighth. He also scored 84 touchdowns: 61 rushing, 21 receiving and two kick off returns 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 six players (Jim Brown
Jim Brown
James Nathaniel "Jim" Brown is an American former professional football player who has also made his mark as an actor. He is best known for his exceptional and record-setting nine-year career as a running back for the NFL Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965. In 2002, he was named by Sporting News...

, Lenny Moore
Lenny Moore
Leonard Edward Moore is a former American football halfback who played for Penn State in college and the Baltimore Colts. He came to the Colts in 1956, and had a productive first pro season and was named the NFL Rookie of The Year...

, Marcus Allen
Marcus Allen
Marcus LeMarr Allen is a former American football player and, until recently, was affiliated with CBS as a game analyst. As a professional, Allen ran for 12,243 yards and caught 587 passes for 5,412 yards during his career for both the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs from 1982 to 1997...

, Marshall Faulk
Marshall Faulk
Marshall William Faulk is a former American football running back who played in the National Football League. He is currently an analyst for NFL Total Access, Thursday Night Football, and NFL GameDay Morning on the NFL Network...

, and Thurman Thomas) to exceed 60 touchdowns rushing and 20 touchdowns receiving. Another NFL record is that he is the only player with a 90+ yard reception, 90+ yard run and a 90+ yard kickoff return all in the same 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). That same day, he had 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving. Walker is currently ranked eighth all time in all-purpose yards with 18,168, despite spending his first three seasons in the USFL.

Walker is regarded as one of the top college running backs of all time. In 1999, he was selected to Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

's NCAA Football All-Century Team. On the Fox Sports Net
Fox Sports Net
The Fox Sports Regional Networks, or simply Fox Sports Net , are a collection of cable TV regional sports networks in the United States owned and operated by News Corporation.- Beginnings :...

 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
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

. Walker had his jersey number "34" retired from his alma mater
Alma mater
Alma mater , pronounced ), was used in ancient Rome as a title for various mother goddesses, especially Ceres or Cybele, and in Christianity for the Virgin Mary.-General term:...

, The University of Georgia. While Walker had a successful NFL career, it was also a disappointment that he never played on a championship team. High expectations were placed on him due to his extraordinary college career and the price of his trade to the Minnesota Vikings. Many of those expectations were never realized.

The move to Minnesota was the turning point in his NFL tenure. In 2008, the trade was selected by SI.com as the number one worst sports trade of all time. It was also the subject of an episode of ESPN Classic's
ESPN Classic
ESPN Classic is a sports channel that features reruns of famous sporting events, sports documentaries, and sports themed movies. Such programs includes biographies of famous sports figures or a rerun of a famous World Series or Super Bowl, often with added commentary on the event...

 The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame...
The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame...
The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame... is a sports series that debuted in 2005 and aired on ESPN2 and ESPN Classic. The show ran from April 2005 to April 2007. The show was canceled when ESPN Classic phased out the production of original programs. Some episodes were planned but never completed...

. 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
Thoroughbred
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed...

 and a standardbred race horse were named after him, the former while he was still in college. He also made several appearances in the sports documentary (2004).

On January 29, 2011 Walker announced that he is considering an attempt at returning 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
George Foreman
George Edward Foreman is an American two-time former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Olympic gold medalist, ordained Baptist minister, author and successful entrepreneur...

 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, thanks to his MMA training, "I'm 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."

Personal


Walker married his college sweetheart, Cindy DeAngelis Grossman in 1983. After 18 years they divorced in 2001. They have one son together, Christian. Walker is a born-again Christian. He made a guest appearance on The Hour of Power
The Hour of Power
Hour of Power is a weekly American Christian television program currently hosted by Sheila Schuller Coleman. It was previously hosted by her brother, Robert A. Schuller, and her father, Robert H. Schuller, who founded the program. It is broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove,...

, hosted by televangelist Robert Schuller. He has a fifth-degree black belt in tae kwon do and nearly made the Olympic team in the sprint relay. He competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics
1992 Winter Olympics
The 1992 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVI Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 8 to 23 February 1992 in Albertville, France. They were the last Winter Olympics to be held the same year as the Summer Olympics, and the first where the Winter Paralympics...

 in two-man bobsled, finishing seventh.

In 1988, while still a player for the Dallas Cowboys, he danced with the Fort Worth Ballet for a single performance. He ran the 100 meters
100 metres
The 100 metres, or 100-metre dash, is a sprint race in track and field competitions. The shortest common outdoor running distance, it is one of the most popular and prestigious events in the sport of athletics. It has been contested at the Summer Olympics since 1896...

 in 10.22 seconds and the 100 yards in 9.3 seconds. He won back-to-back American Superstars
Superstars
Superstars is an all-around sports competition that pits elite athletes from different sports against one another in a series of athletic events resembling a decathlon....

 competitions in 1987 and 1988. Walker stated in an in-studio interview during BaD Radio
Bad Radio
Bad Radio was a four piece, American progressive funk rock band that formed in San Diego, California in 1986. The band is most notable for having featured future Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder as its lead singer from 1988–1990...

on August 23, 2010 that he still performs 3,500 sit-up
Sit-up (exercise)
The sit-up is a strength training exercise commonly performed with the aim of strengthening the hip flexors and abdominal muscles. It begins with lying with the back on the floor, typically with the arms across the chest or hands behind the head and the knees bent in an attempt to reduce stress on...

s and 1,000 push up
Push Up
This article is about the single. For the body exercise, see Push-upPush Up is a single by British group Freestylers, featuring Theo, released in 2004. It was a hit mainly in Belgium and Australia, as well as the Netherlands....

s every day. He has been going through this same routine since high school. Walker has said that he only eats once a day.

In his 2008 autobiography Breaking Free, Walker revealed that he suffers from dissociative identity disorder
Dissociative identity disorder
Dissociative identity disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis and describes a condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities , each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment....

, formerly known as "multiple personality disorder". He claimed that due to his disorder, he cannot remember the season he won the Heisman Trophy, let alone the moment. He also claimed that during one episode, he had held a gun to his own head. He stated he did not ever remember doing this. He is getting help for this condition and feels he has recovered by gaining back control.

On October 11, 2011 he visited the Central Park Campus (CPC) of Collin College in Mckinney, Texas, to discuss his dissociative identity disorder and ways to help change the conversation about mental health. Hosting the event is the local chapter of Active Minds
Active Minds
Active Minds is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising mental health awareness among college students, on the peer level.-History:Active Minds was founded in 2001 by Alison Malmon, then a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, following the suicide of her only sibling, 22-year-old brother...

, a national organization that unites students in the goal to de-stigmatize mental health issues within the college and surrounding communities. He was a contestant in the second season of the Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Donald John Trump, Sr. is an American business magnate, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump's extravagant lifestyle, outspoken manner and role on the NBC reality show The Apprentice have...

 reality television show Celebrity Apprentice
The Apprentice (U.S. Season 8)
The Celebrity Apprentice 2 is the eighth installment of the United States version of the reality television series, The Apprentice. It premiered on March 1, 2009. The Celebrity Apprentice 2 aired for two hours on Sundays at 9:00 Eastern time...

. Although he owns a food service company, 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. 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



In November 2007, Walker appeared on the HDNet
HDNet
HDNet is a men's interest television channel in the United States, broadcasting exclusively in high-definition format and available via cable and satellite television...

 show Inside MMA
Inside MMA
Inside MMA is an hour-long program on Mark Cuban's HDNet television network hosted by Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice. The hosts, along with a revolving panel of three guests, provide commentary on mixed martial arts events around the globe...

as a guest. He indicated that he would take part in a mixed martial arts
Mixed martial arts
Mixed Martial Arts is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, including boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, kickboxing, karate, judo and other styles. The roots of modern mixed martial arts can be...

 reality show in the near future (along with José Canseco
José Canseco
José Canseco Capas, Jr. is a Cuban-American professional baseball manager, outfielder, and designated hitter for the Yuma Scorpions of the North American League and former Major League Baseball player. He is the identical twin brother of former major league player and current teammate Ozzie 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 Strikeforce
Strikeforce
Strikeforce is a U.S.-based mixed martial arts and kickboxing organization based in San Jose, California. It is headed by CEO Scott Coker and owned by Zuffa, LLC...

 to compete in their heavyweight
Heavyweight (MMA)
The heavyweight division in mixed martial arts generally groups fighters between .Although many ambiguities exist within the lower weight classes regarding division naming and weight limits, the Heavyweight division is, for the most part, uniform...

 division.

He began a 12-week training camp with trainer "Crazy" Bob Cook at the American Kickboxing Academy
American Kickboxing Academy
The American Kickboxing Academy is a martial arts gym located in San Jose, California. It is one of the pioneering schools of mixed martial arts...

 in October 2009 in San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. In his professional MMA debut on January 30, 2010, Walker defeated Greg Nagy via TKO due to strikes at Strikeforce: Miami
Strikeforce: Miami
Strikeforce: Miami was a mixed martial arts event held by Strikeforce on January 30, 2010 in Sunrise, Florida, United States at the BankAtlantic Center. The event aired live on Showtime in the US and on Super Channel in Canada.-Background:...

. According to Scott Coker, the Strikeforce CEO, Walker pledged to donate his fight purse to charity. Scott Coker announced Walker would be fighting again on Dec 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. When they fought at a later date, on January 29, 2011, Walker defeated Carson via TKO (strikes) at 3:13 of round 1.
Walker looks to continue his MMA career following his second victory.

Mixed martial arts record


|-
| Win
|align=center| 2–0
| Scott Carson
| TKO (punches)
| Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg
Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg
Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg, was a mixed martial arts event that was held by Strikeforce on January 29, 2011 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, United States.-Background:...


|
|align=center| 1
|align=center| 3:13
| San Jose, California
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


|
|-
| Win
|align=center| 1–0
| Greg Nagy
| TKO (punches)
| Strikeforce: Miami
Strikeforce: Miami
Strikeforce: Miami was a mixed martial arts event held by Strikeforce on January 30, 2010 in Sunrise, Florida, United States at the BankAtlantic Center. The event aired live on Showtime in the US and on Super Channel in Canada.-Background:...


|
|align=center| 3
|align=center| 2:17
| Sunrise, Florida
Sunrise, Florida
-Overview:Sunrise is a city in southwestern Broward County, Florida, United States. It was incorporated in 1961 by Norman Johnson – a developer whose World Famous Upside-Down House attracted buyers to what was then a remote area...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


|

External links