Herschel has ‘no doubt’ he could play in NFL (but won’t)

Herschel ...

Doesn't everybody have abs like Herschel Walker at the age of 48?

So of all the possible ways the Falcons can improve themselves this offseason, would signing a 48-year-old running back fit into the equation?

Yes, Herschel Walker says he could still play football. Yes, he says if he ever attempted a comeback in the NFL, it would be in Atlanta. But before you add one plus one and get 37 — like some in cyberspace are doing — the answer is no: He is not pursuing a return to football.

I bring this up because a headline on an AOL/Fanhouse story Monday read: “Herschel Walker, 48, Ponders NFL Comeback.” It might as well have read, “Elvis spotted at Smyrna Waffle House.” When I informed Walker of the headline, he laughed.

However, the former Georgia and NFL star, turned MMA fighter, didn’t laugh about his potential to still perform at a high level.

“I was asked [on a conference call earlier Monday] if I thought I could still play football, and my answer is yes,” Walker said by phone. “There’s no doubt in my mind. I couldn’t play every snap, but most running backs today don’t play every snap. I joked that when I turned 50, maybe I’ll comeback and be the George Foreman of the NFL. If I played for anybody, it would be for Atlanta, since that’s my home team.”

But is this something Walker actually is entertaining?

“No, it was just a question a reporter asked,” he said. “I haven’t had any thought about it. I’ve been into MMA now for a little over a year and I’m enjoying it. I’m watching [football] games but I haven’t had any thought about playing again.”

I’ll say this for Walker: While Evander Holyfield (also 48) is hurting his legacy by continuing to box, Walker hasn’t embarrassed himself in any of his ventures. He’s 1-0 in MMA and fights again Saturday night. As you can see by the picture, he’s also in pretty good shape. He says he weighs 219 to 220 pounds

“I’m in better shape now than when I played,” he said.

Walker lives in Dallas but he still maintains a home in the Atlanta area, his parents live in south Georgia and he owns a food services company in Savannah. While I had him on the phone, I figured I might as well ask him about a few other subjects:

♦On the recent struggles at Georgia: “One of the things that’s happened is we’ve been losing so many kids coming out of high school to out of state college. They’re not going to the University of Georgia, and I’ve been sort of hurt by it. I’ve talked to coach [Mark] Richt and I’ve spoken to Greg McGarity and I’ve told them I’d like to get involved and help them in any way I can. But I’m not sure what the NCAA would allow me to do.”

♦ On the NCAA: “Sometimes I just don’t understand what they’re doing. They let the kids at Ohio State play [in the Sugar Bowl] and suspend them next year [for selling merchandise] but they suspend A.J. Green for four games right away. They let Cam Newton play and he wins the Heisman and Auburn wins the national championship but they say they’re still investigating. That should be behind them by now. It’s not fair for me to judge what Cam Newton knew or didn’t know, but to me the NCAA should’ve dealt with it and moved on. They shouldn’t be able to go back now and do something. It seems like sometimes the NCAA says, ‘We’re just too busy now.’ They need swift justice.”

♦ On his next career: “I wouldn’t mind getting into a front office in the NFL. Maybe something in personnel, because I know talent and I know the business side of it. Maybe even be a commentator. It’s something I’ve turned down for  a long time.”

♦ On the Falcons:  “I thought they were going to the Super Bowl. That’s what I was telling everybody. I was shocked when they lost to Green Bay the way they did.”

By the looks of this picture from his last bout, I would put Walker on defense.

Embedding code to Herschel Walker's first MMA bout has been pulled off YouTube for copyright but this still shot tells a thousand punches.

Embedding code to Herschel Walker's first MMA bout has been pulled off of YouTube for copyright but this picture tells a thousand words (and punches).

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

155 comments Add your comment

mike turner

January 24th, 2011
8:48 pm

Herschel is a beast, and is better than Turner probably. At least he would hit the hole with authority.

mike turner

January 24th, 2011
8:49 pm

Turner has twinkle toes.

sheeesh

January 24th, 2011
8:52 pm

Enjoyed watching Herschel at UGA. Not so much in his pro days.

I know he is not seriously considering it, but hopefully the Falcons would not allow themselves (or have to resort to) considering it, either. The Falcons and their fans have had their share of being the dregs of the league. No need to take a step back in that direction.

Slim Chance

January 24th, 2011
8:53 pm

Video link doesn’t work Schultz. Some bs about a copyright claim…

Matt

January 24th, 2011
8:53 pm

Must be another one of Herschel’s multiple personalities, because during the call, he was asked if he was joking about the whole thing, and he said no.

Asheville Dawg

January 24th, 2011
9:04 pm

Herschel can play anywhere he wants to. Still looks like he could gain a hundred yards, easy.

PMC

January 24th, 2011
9:12 pm

That depends….. can he catch passes out of the backfield?

Mike Lum

January 24th, 2011
9:18 pm

Sheeesh: People always forget that Herschel retired from pro football having gained more combined yards than anyone in the history of the game. And he played on special teams!

hbcuclassics

January 24th, 2011
9:19 pm

2011 HBCU Draft Board (7-13)

7. Larry Donnell 6’6, 260 TE Grambling
All-SWAC

8. Arvell Nelson 6’5, 228 QB Tx Southern
2010 SWAC Championship (Iowa transfer)

9. Rico Council 6’0, 254 OLB TN State
All-OVC

10.KJ Black 6’3, 230 QB Prairie View
2009 SWAC Offensive POY

11. Jason House 5′11, 185 FS Southern
10 interceptions in 2009

12. Chris Adingupu 6’0, 189 FS Prairie View
All-SWAC

13. Phillip Sylvester 5’9, 185 RB FAMU
All-MEAC, 5.7ypc, 10TDs, 96.8 ypg

hbcuclassics.com

Bug Zapper

January 24th, 2011
9:29 pm

Jeff, what is it that Herschel wants to do at UGA? Did he say?……It could only be a help to them…..and I’m sure that he may be one person that any athlete over there would look up to and respect his oppinion!

Dooley

January 24th, 2011
9:34 pm

Herschel looks like he could still play..Bo Jackson looks like a hippo!

moron

January 24th, 2011
9:35 pm

sheesh,

your a goddamn moron.

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Jimmy

January 24th, 2011
9:37 pm

hippo………..LOL!!!

PTC DAWG

January 24th, 2011
9:43 pm

As far as Herschel in the Pros…if you took the time to actually dig into his stats, he has TONS of total yardage in the NFL…rushing/receiving/kick off returns…he’s very high in the overall rankings.

RUSS GATA

January 24th, 2011
9:46 pm

Please ask Herschel why Atlanta passed on him in the draft-Cowboys were heads up and drafted him low out of the USFL-and all the times he was traded why they never made a move..
The Birds missed out on talent and gaining local support. Can’t believe but appreciate that he supports the Falcons in any way.

Art Vandaley

January 24th, 2011
9:48 pm

Herschel should be UGA’s new Recruiting Coordinator.

Bug Zapper

January 24th, 2011
9:49 pm

I say hire him as running backs coach at UGA….I think he would accept the challenge…..Can u immagine what any recruit, at any position would think to see Herschel Walker at their door on a recruiting visit!…….Greg McGarrity, get him on board doing anything!

bitter hershal talker

January 24th, 2011
9:50 pm

as you can see, bo dont no sh—, hershal is and always will be THE “MAN”., ALBURN SUX——LOOSERS, CHEATERS, BONAFID FOOLS!!

Andy

January 24th, 2011
9:50 pm

Richt should bring in HW to help with the strength and conditioning program at UGA.

The Most Interesting Man Alive

January 24th, 2011
9:52 pm

Jeff everyone in Georgia just does not get the fact that AJ LIED TO THE NCAA and that is why he got the four games. Last year the same happened to the receiver from OK State who did nothing wrong when he spoke to Dion Sanders but freaked when the NCAA came calling and he lied that he even talked to Dion and when the NCAA found it out he was suspended for the entire season.

DUHHHHHHHH----

January 24th, 2011
9:52 pm

Is it possible that Herschel would make a good strength and conditioning coach? Have you seen his pictures? DUUUUHHHHH…..

Bug Zapper

January 24th, 2011
9:53 pm

Andy, you’re right !……That too!

bitter COOTIES FRIEND

January 24th, 2011
9:54 pm

BRING hershal to my home, ill sign yaaaw, right momma!!!, boy i said i will not sell your soul to the devil, besides alburn payed yo’l father 180,000, you going to auubrn you heara

RAMBLE ON!!!

January 24th, 2011
10:06 pm

Hershel’s been hit in the head a few too many times, but he was dumb as a rock to begin with.

Hurt Kurbstreit

January 24th, 2011
10:07 pm

Looks like Herschel has really let himself go. LOL Man, that guy is a freek. Get him involved at UGA. Let him coach running backs or something.

TechRedNeck

January 24th, 2011
10:11 pm

He’s kept himself in great shape. Surely he’s too smart to play football again. He would get killed.

sheeesh

January 24th, 2011
10:32 pm

Mike Lum, the operative word in your post is “pro football”, as opposed to “NFL football”. Just because a player gets paid to play football does not make his accomplishments comparable from one league to the other. If you try hard enough, you might be able to dig up some stats from a CFL player who’s numbers compare to Herschel’s. So what?

I’m from Augusta. I followed Herschel’s career from his senior year at Johnson County, through the recruiting battle between UGA and USC (So Cal, that is), through his years at UGA, and through his USFL career. I moved to Dallas in 1985, just before Herschel arrived. I lived there until 1989, until I moved to Atlanta, and went to a dozen or so Cowboy games during his career in Dallas. I followed his career closely. I saw him play A LOT.

I don’t want to downplay Herschel’s achievements as a football player. He was a great college back – the best I ever saw in college. He was a very good NFL player, but not great. He might have been a great NFL player, maybe, but he wasted time in the USFL, so we will never know what he could have done. Sure, the USFL had a few players who also had NFL success (some even HOF-level success), but that league was nowhere near NFL-caliber. A lot of the NFL players in that league were washed up NFL veterans just trying to hang on. Many of the others who went on to play in the NFL were guys who took advantage of the NFL strike and played as “scab” players for three weeks before the regular players came back. The USFL only lasted 3 years, with the last two years being a joke with franchises struggling to survive financially. They could not afford to pay many legitimate players. Herschel would have never run up the stats he had in the USFL if those games were against NFL defenses. And don’t forget that the USFL played 18-game seasons. The USFL was fun to watch those three summers they were in business, but it was not NFL-quality of play.

So it is a very weak argument to just talk about his “pro” career. And I am aware of his accomplishments as a kick returner. He was good at it. But you can rack up a lot of yardage in a hurry returning kicks. He was able to do what many starting RBs either can’t or don’t get the opportunity to do. Taking nothing away from his ability there, but it is not a good basis for comparing him to other NFL backs.

Herschel made his decisions for business reasons. He wanted to cash in sooner than later. And he did well at the time. I don’t know if it has paid off for him in the long run. A full NFL career probably would have put him in the HOF by now. But people only remember him as a pretty good NFL running back, who returned kicks, had little impact on the success of the teams he played for, and got traded for a boatload of draft picks that vaulted the Cowboys to three Super Bowl trophies in the 90s.

BravesFan79

January 24th, 2011
10:33 pm

Fedor is the best! The Strikeforce Heavyweight tourney is going 2 be the sports event of the year!! Fedor will destroy all, and then come to the UFC and win the belt.

Sandman053

January 24th, 2011
10:54 pm

Herschel come to UGA and make men out of these young Dawgs. Show them how to do it the right way. S & C? sure? RB coach? ok.

Vince D.

January 24th, 2011
10:57 pm

Doesn’t have one more year of eligibility for me and UGA….

Voice of Reason

January 24th, 2011
11:23 pm

Maybe he could go back to the Athens Thinktank and do the unthinkable and perhaps get a degree?

Seeer

January 24th, 2011
11:57 pm

Hey Herschel! Please come back and play Linebacker for our Falcons! You would be great over on that side of the ball and you can do it!

Ted Striker

January 25th, 2011
12:18 am

Dude. I DID see Elvis at that Waffle House in Smyrna. Swear to god.

JSS

January 25th, 2011
12:19 am

Which darn personality was it that made this declaration? His sister would be an improvement over DeCoud or Moore… Sign her up!

AthensDawg

January 25th, 2011
1:03 am

Herschel is Herschel. He still loves his peas. Big issue is Crowell and Jenkins.

Im just saying

January 25th, 2011
1:05 am

Jeff, are you sure it was Herschel you were talking to? Either way it sounds like he is off his meds.

DodgerDAWG

January 25th, 2011
1:17 am

Walker should be hired as the Offensive Line Coach, running game coordinator and Strength and COnditioning Assistant…

Herschel still the man

January 25th, 2011
1:24 am

Being a fellow alumnus, I love that Herschel’s thoughts on UGA football and the inconsistencies in the NCAA mirror my own.

Any logical person would think that way though.

Captain Allen Waters

January 25th, 2011
2:11 am

As a life long UGA fan, I watched Herschel Walker many games and was always impressed. Can you imagine if he had stayed for his Sr year and won the Heisman twice? All these guys like Stafford & Moreno, AJ and the rest should have learned the $ come later and you should stay for college when offered a scholarship. The pro teams have really changed the college teams and one has to wonder what GA would have done with a Sr Stafford and Jr Moreno with AJ. Please give us a playoff similar to the FCS so all college teams crown their National Champion on the field and not 5 weeks after they finish the regular season.
UGA fan in India

P. Bull Terrier

January 25th, 2011
2:59 am

There is nothing wrong with UGA fans/alumni having different ideas about what is needed to return UGA to the level of success that most of us expect, but difference between the way Herschel Walker and Fran Tarkenton handled their concern about the program illustrates the difference between a man of character, and a self-centered blow hard.

Herschel handled his concerns by speaking privately to Richt and McGarity and offering to help in any way he can. In contrast, Fran Tarkenton decided to go on the radio and trash almost everything about UGA (most likely as a way to generate publicity for Fran Tarkenton and whatever his latest infomercial get-rich-quick scheme happens to be).

I’m glad it’s Herschel who is the face of UGA football and not Fran.

P. Bull Terrier

January 25th, 2011
3:02 am

Thank you for your service, Captain Waters.

jalex49

January 25th, 2011
3:03 am

I do hope the AD at Georgia will find a place for Herschel Walker . He is a legend at Georgia and the people of Georgia really like the guy and what He did for the University of Georgia. It would be a great way for Georgia to gain immediate recognition with quality running backs and football people in general because of what he has accomplished, his love for Georgia football, the model that he has set for being an over-achiever and the commitment he has too keeping himself in shape.

We really need this guy on the campus of Georgia as an assistant to strenght and conditioning coach or I believe as a running back assistant coach. He has a lot of knowledge and experience and could only impact the rb’s in a positive way.

Coach Richt get this guy on board and work with him. He wants to be part of what you have going on and I believe he will make you proud for such a decision. Put ego’s aside and don’t listen to the critics. Everyone deserves a chance to prove themselves if they have something positive to offer.

Thanks for letting me express my thoughts. Best of luck Herschel and thanks for wanting to be a part of the program.

William

January 25th, 2011
3:50 am

What a beast. I wish I had that body. I wish Georgia had someone at tailback with that body.

Stinger2

January 25th, 2011
4:20 am

I agree with the post by sheeesh at 10.32 p:m. Walker had a great career at UGA but he was not great as a pro player. The 3 years in USFL hurt him badly because of its lack of creditabity. That league was in essence a minor league compared to the NFL.

Grim Reaper

January 25th, 2011
4:20 am

Thanks Hushel, so you can still play? There will never ever be another trade where a former Gawga RB is traded for multiple picks and the Gator RB comes in and takes his place and wins 3 Super Bowls and retires as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher! So who are the Broncos trading Know-show Morono to? Whatever RB that takes his place in the trade has a chance to break Emmitts record..

Trot

January 25th, 2011
5:36 am

Voice of Reason,

Hershel finished his degree back in Athens after his first USFL season and owns a food service business that did about 20 million in sales in 2008. He competed in the 1992 Olympics in the bobsled event and has a couple of black belts in various martial arts. Not too shabby for a spoiled, 1/2 wit athlete.

Spike

January 25th, 2011
6:55 am

I would never underestimate him.

From Where I Sit

January 25th, 2011
7:16 am

GA fans are so funny as this is all you guys have to hold on to. It has been 30 years since this guy was on the football field for GA. Dang, give it a rest, and BTW, this guy sucked in the NFL!

Enough Said!!!!

tiger7_88

January 25th, 2011
7:24 am

Herschel said: “It’s not fair for me to judge what Cam Newton knew or didn’t know, but to me the NCAA should’ve dealt with it and moved on. They shouldn’t be able to go back now and do something.”

Maybe you sad, pathetic, envious dawgie fans should take a lesson from the best and classiest player in your school’s history with regard to Auburn.