Herschel Walker started his football career while playing for the University of Georgia. In his freshman year, he set an NCAA rushing record and helped his team win the national title. He earned All-American honors three consecutive years, set 10 NCAA records, 15 Southeast Conference records, 30 Georgia all-time records, and capped a sensational college career by earning the 1982 Heisman Trophy in his third and final year.
In 1983, Walker turned professional and joined the New Jersey Generals of the now defunct United States Football League. Herschel was absolutely dominating and was considered by many to be the best and most electrifying player in football. He won the leagues Most Valuable Player award and set the all-time single season pro football rushing record with 2411 yards.
In 1986, Herschel Walker joined the Dallas Cowboys, and in his first season with the team he led the NFL in rushing and scored 14 touchdowns. His best year came in 1988 when Herschel rushed for 1,514 yards. He earned Pro Bowl honors with the Cowboys in 1987 and 1988. During his years with the Cowboys he was their most talented and most popular player, but the team was not winning.
In the middle of the1989 season, the Cowboys traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings in a deal that would change the face of the Cowboys for years to come. Besides receiving 5 players, the Cowboys also received a total of six draft picks, two of which were used to draft Emmit Smith and Darren Woodson. Jimmy Johnson used the other draft picks to make trades with other teams around the NFL which led to drafting Russell Maryland with the first overall draft pick in 1991. This trade has long been considered one of the most lopsided deals in NFL history.
After continuing his career as one of the premier running backs in the league, Herschel would later return to Dallas in 1996 and retired as a Cowboy in 1997.
Walker was one of the most productive players in the history of football and even if you discount his 3 seasons with the USFL, he still had 82 career touchdowns, 8,225 rushing yards, 4,859 receiving yards, and 5,084 kickoff-return yards. He is the only player to have 10,000+ yards gained on offense and 5,000+ yards on kickoff returns.
Although his career as Cowboy was not that long, during his years with the team he was the lone bright spot despite the fact that the team never made the play-offs. His contribution to the team in terms of trade value transformed the team into the most powerful team in the NFL for an entire decade.
Walker was one of the top running backs in the pros, gaining more yards than anyone in professional football history, counting his seasons in both the NFL and USFL. He finished his professional career with a total of 8,225 yards and 61 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 512 passes for 4,859 yards and 21 scores.
Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys.