Herschel Walker’s NFL career might be best known for being a part of the 1989 trade that sent him to the Vikings from the Cowboys for several draft picks, one of which would later turn out of be future Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.
But Walker believes there is one thing missing on his own resume— a bust of himself in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Walker believes his NFL career in itself is good enough that he should be considered by the Hall of Fame selection committee, but when his stats from the now non-existent United States Football League are added into the mix, where he played for his first three pro football seasons after leaving the University of Georgia, the retired running back thinks he should be a lock.
“Without a doubt in my mind, I should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Walker told NBC Sports. “You look at my stats without my USFL stats, and I don’t know how you can argue with that. Look at y combined yards. I’m not one to make excuses, so I’ll play by their rules and not even count the USFL stats.”
In 1985, Walker’s last season with the USFL New Jersey Generals, he carried the ball 438 times for 2,411 yard and 21 touchdowns, which is still the most rushing yards anyone has ever had in any professional football league season. Overall Walker totaled 5,562 rushing yards and 1,484 receiving yards in three seasons in the USFL.
While the numbers in the USFL might not be taken seriously, it needs to be noted that Walker wasn’t playing cupcake opponents. Among the players in the USFL with him were future Hall of Famers Reggie White, Gary Zimmerman, Steve Young and Jim Kelly.
Walker’s NFL-only numbers has him sitting at ninth in league history in all-purpose yards, with 18,168 and if his yards from the USFL were added in, he would surpass Jerry Rice for first all-time.
Walker, who is considered one of the best college players of all-time from his playing days at Georgia, also believes his NFL stats could have been better if teams would have giving him the ball more consistently.
“I didn’t get the opportunities to run the ball,” Walker said. “People said, ‘Herschel can’t run out of a split backfield, Herschel can’t do this.” But you’ve got to give opportunities to athletes.”
And Walker does bring up a valid point; it is called the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the NFL Hall of Fame, leaving some to argue his USFL numbers should be brought into consideration. Whether the committee will ever do this or not is a different story.