Former NFL and USFL great Herschel Walker says he believes he could still play in the NFL. The 52-year-old told newspaper USA Today that he could still produce for a professional football team because nowadays a plethora of running backs are used, so it would not require him to play every down. Physically, he said, “I could still do it.”
That might not be such a stretch. Walker has been out of football for about 17 years now, but has managed to maintain the freakish physique that, along with his football prowess, made him one of the world’s top athlete’s. After football, he decided to take up mixed martial arts and began training with all the same fervor he did in his playing days. He won both of his professional fights by knockout. His business dealings, he said, now take up the majority of his time, but he still trains daily and at a very high level.
Walker also used the occasion to spout off about Donald Trump, owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals when he played there and later the big boss on Celebrity Apprentice, on which he appeared as a contestant in 2009. About Trump potentially buying the Buffalo Bills, Walker said Trump would make a great owner, adding that he may rub some people the wrong way, but he is a great businessman who knows how to market and would bring a lot of flair to the Bills.
In another proclamation that holds a good amount of merit, Walker made headlines a little less than six months ago when he told a newspaper in Minnesota that he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Granted, the astronomical numbers he posted in his three years in the USFL count for nothing, but maybe they should. His 2,411 yards for the New Jersey Generals in 1985 are still the most ever in one season of professional football. So that means the 5,562 yards and 54 touchdowns he racked up in the USFL, for all intents and purposes, never really happened. And that is a darn shame.
While they may not be eye-popping, Walker’s NFL stats alone make a case for Hall of Fame induction. In 12 NFL seasons, he rushed for 8,225 yards, totaled 4,859 receiving yards, and 5,084 kickoff-return yards for a total of 18,168 combined yards.
“There is no doubt in my mind that I should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” he said. “Look at my stats without the USFL and I don’t know how you can argue with that. Look at my combined yards. I’m not one to make excuses so I’ll play by their rules and not even count the USFL stats.”
If the USFL stats did count, there would be absolutely no debate. Notwithstanding those three years in that other league, Walker is ninth on the list of all-purpose yard leaders. Throw in that other five thousand and change from those three years and he is at the top of the list with 23,730 yards, just ahead of Jerry Rice’s 23,546 all-purpose yards.
Commentary by Rick Sarlat