Herschel Walker wants to return to football, saying that he would be an asset to any team that would have him. The catch? Walker is about to turn 49.
It’s not outside the realm of possibility. Walker has hardly been lazy in his retirement. Since retiring he’s been training extensively and consistently competes in mixed martial arts fights.
“If I continue to stay in the shape I’m in now, I know I can play when I’m 50,” Walker insisted yesterday during a teleconference to promote his Saturday bout with 27-year-old Scott Carson in a Strikeforce event in San Jose, Calif.
“Right now, if you asked me if I can play today, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind I can play football, that I can help a team out,” said Walker, whose spent his final three NFL seasons primarily as a receiver and kick returner for the Giants and Cowboys. “I can 100 percent guarantee you I can help a football team out . . .
Is this optimism or denial about getting older? If Walker ever returned to football (not that it’s very likely) it would make him the oldest professional player in history. We’re all for heartwarming underdog stories, but at a certain point you’re just watching guys fresh out of college beat the shit out of an old guy.
If anyone could do it, though, Walker could. He’s never really stopped being an athlete. He had a football career that spanned over 15 years with numerous projects on the side. Listen to these qualifications:
A remarkably versatile athlete who flashed Olympic-level sprinter’s speed for the Georgia track team and made it to the 1992 Winter Olympics as a bobsledder, Walker’s latest – or, more accurately, most enduring – competitive passion is mixed martial arts. A student of MMA since he was 15, he holds a fifth-degree black belt in tae kwon do and also has trained in such varied fighting disciplines as Muay Thai and Kenpo.
He remains the only NFL player to score three ways on plays of 90 or more yards in the same season, achieving that spectacular hat trick for the Eagles in 1994 by taking it to the house on a rush, a pass reception and a kickoff return.
Bobsledding? Seriously? And this was all while he was also playing football. While he was also on the Georgia track team Walker won the Heisman trophy in 1982 and went on to play professional football until 1997 when he retired from the sport. Since then he’s been keeping busy with competitive MMA fights.
Say what you will about the prospect of a 50-year-old playing pro football, but if he’s literally beating the shit out of people for fun in his spare time, we say give him a chance.