Winner of the 1982 Heisman Trophy as a junior and the prohibitive favorite to join Archie Griffin as the award's only two-time winners in 1983, Georgia running back Herschel Walker could easily have made college football history, then went on to be the #1 overall pick in the 1984 NFL Draft.  Instead, fearing injury and looking at the possibility of making an income now rather than later, he looked to the USFL as a potential place to ply his trade.

First discussing possibilities with the Chicago Blitz and later the New Jersey Generals, Walker decided to turn pro and sign with the Gens just a few weeks before the USFL's inaugural season began.  The deal was $ 4.2 million over three years - hardly an Earth-shattering number by today's standards, but at the time enough to turn a head or two.  The USFL had a major drawing card - and a major problem.  By signing an underclassman, they had broken the unspoken agreement between the colleges and the pros - a "hands off" policy toward players who hadn't completed their collegiate eligibility.

Eventually the colleges were mollified in that Walker was something of an exceptional case, and the Generals succeeded initially at the box office, but not on the field.  While Walker would perform as expected in 1983, rushing for 1,812 yards and 17 touchdowns and leading the team in receptions as well, the team itself disappointed the 35,000-plus average who attended Gens games, finishing 6-12-0 and third in the Atlantic Division. 

Donald Trump bought the Generals from J. Walter Duncan after the 1983 season and immediately began putting pieces in place that would help showcase Walker's talents while diversifying the offense.  In 1984 Walker would be joined by in the backfield by Maurice Carthon, each rushing for over 1,000 yards.  While Walker's 1,339 yards weren't enough to capture the USFL's rushing title in 1984, the team's 14-4-0 record was good enough to challenge the Philadelphia Stars for the Atlantic Division crown and earn a playoff berth.  The following year saw the Generals record dip to 11-7-0 despite the addition of fellow Heisman winner Doug Flutie.  Walker's own performance though was nothing short of spectacular, rushing for a pro football record 2,411 yards and 21 touchdowns.  It was a great final season for Walker in the USFL, which closed its doors after the 1985 campaign.

Moving to the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys for 1986, Walker would play for another 12 seasons with the Cowboys, Vikings, Eagles and Giants, amassing another 8,225 yards and 61 touchdowns to bring his career totals to 13,787 yards and 114 touchdowns - good enough for induction in Pro Football's Hall of Fame to be sure, yet to date he has not been inducted, no doubt in part to an unspoken bias against the USFL.

Retiring from pro football after the 1987 season, Walker entered a number of business enterprises as well as the public speaking circuit.  Today he calls the Savannah area home, where he's active in Renaissance Man Food Services, a company that markets "Herschel's Famous 34" foods.  Ironically, while Walker was well-known for being a fitness fanatic and a well-conditioned athlete during his playing days, his post-football career includes marketing products such as the "Herschel's Famous 34 Jalapeno and Cheese Beef Frank," which weighs in at 360 calories and a whopping 34 fat grams, and the "Herschel's Famous 34 Breaded Cheesy Jalapeno Chicken Strip," a serving of which has more fat than a McDonald's Big Mac hamburger.


New Jersey Generals


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