The Georgia Football Team
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learned that Herschel Walker, the
College Football Hall of Fame running back who led Georgia to the 1980
national title and won the 1982 Heisman Trophy, will officially join the
Bulldog football team later next week all thanks to a strange
technicality in the NCAA rule book.
Walker, 46, known for being one of the premier physical specimens in the
history of football, has remained in great shape and has been privately
working out for the last several months in the hope of making one of the
greatest comebacks in sports history.
CFN has obtained copies of documents submitted to the NCAA from Walker
and his lawyers requesting, and being granted, an extra year of
eligibility 26 years after his last carry with the Bulldogs all because
he left early for the USFL and not the NFL.
Walker left Georgia after his junior season for the upstart United
States Football League, where he was the star of the Donald Trump owned New Jersey
Generals rushing for 5,562 yards while setting
the pro football record of 2,411 rushing yards in 1985.
The USFL filed a $1.69 billion anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL and
won in principle, but not financially, and was awarded a mere $3.76 in the
landmark case. The league folded in 1986 after losing over $160 million
dollars, and Walker was off to the Dallas Cowboys where he became a Pro
Bowl performer in 1987 and 1988 before being traded to the Minnesota
Vikings in what will forever be known as the deal that helped create a
1990s Dallas dynasty.
Because the USFL went out of business when it did, and because the NCAA
didn’t have any specific rules at the time for players to lose their
eligibility by leaving early for the new league (but they were in place
for the NFL), technically, Walker, under the current NCAA rulebook still
has one more year of eligibility remaining. Because Walker has remained
in peak physical condition, the wild possibility, brought to his
attention by a Georgia fan working for the NCAA two years ago, is now
about to become a reality.
“It’s like when a college football player goes off to play major league
baseball during the summer,” said Nathan Thurm, Walker’s attorney. “A
player can get paid millions as a baseball prospect yet still remain
eligible to play college football. In essence, that’s what Herschel
going to the USFL was like. His later service in the NFL isn’t pertinent
to the NCAA rulebook as it applies to him. Technically, since he left for a league that no longer
exists, and went out of business by the time the NFL started allowing
early entrants on a regular basis, it's as if he left to go stock shelves for Wal-Mart.”
Walker has continued to do his trademark 2,500 sit-ups and 1,500
push-ups every day, and while he no longer can run 100 yards in 9.3
seconds, inside observers to his workouts say he has still has more than enough
burst to be a productive backup college running back for at least ten
carries a game.
“You’re talking about one of the greatest athletes this country has ever
said one inside source who wished to remain anonymous. “This is a guy
who was an Olympic caliber bobsledder, a world-class sprinter, and one
of the greatest all-around backs in the history of professional
football. Of course he’s not the same athlete he was at 22, but he’s
better than 90% of the kids playing college football right now.”
Georgia head coach Mark Richt declined to offer up much insight, but he
did say that there were “discussions” about Walker possibly rejoining a
team that will be ranked in almost everyone’s preseason top three.
“Herschel Walker is one of the greatest players in the history of our
game and a Georgia legend,” said Richt. “We want him around our program
in any way he wants to be involved."
Richt then joked, "If you can find an extra year of eligibility for
Champ Bailey and Richard Seymour, we'd find a spot for them, too. ”
Georgia already has a deep backfield with Heisman hopeful Knowshon
Moreno leading the way along with promising young talents in Caleb King, Kalvin
Daniels. More help is coming in from the recruiting class. Walker, who
said he didn’t want to comment until later next week, told a spokesman
that he doesn’t plan on being a number one back, and he doesn't
want to be a distraction, but he still thinks he
can contribute and he believes he can help Georgia win its first
national title since 1980.
“This really isn’t about Herschel looking for lost glory or the
limelight,” said Thurm. “This is about doing something that no one has
ever been able to do and taking advantage of one of the unique
opportunities the sports world has ever seen.”
There are a few snags to overcome before Walker can rejoin his old team
this summer. He is rumored to be the mystery third candidate in the race
for the Democratic presidential nomination, will reunite with New Kids
on the Block on the Today Show, and he has to finish planning a baby
shower for Jamie Lynn Spears.
First, Walker will kick off his hectic month wishing everyone the most
happiest of April Fools' Days.
(2005) Big Ten
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