Herschel Walker Returns To Strikeforce Saturday Night Amid Talk Of NFL Return

Herschel Walker will fight for the second time in MMA Saturday night. However, it's his comment about returning to the NFL at 48 years old that has people talking.

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Herschel Walker's NFL Return Talk Just PR; 48-Year-Old Focused On MMA

While promoting his upcoming Strikeforce fight against Scott Carson, Herschel Walker was asked whether he’d like to one day return to play in the NFL. As an individual with no shortage of confidence in his hard-earned physique, Walker went along with the question, claiming he could compete in the NFL, that he can still run a sub-4.4 40-yard dash, and so forth.

The media ran with the story, perhaps primed by fellow Georgian Evander Holyfield’s constant attempts at coming back to the sport that defines him. But Walker insists he was only playing along with a reporter’s question and has no intention of returning to pro football.

Walker:

I’ve been into MMA now for a little over a year and I’m enjoying it. I’m watching [football] games but I haven’t had any thought about playing again.

Walker played pro football from 1983 to 1997 after winning the Heisman Trophy as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs. He says he’s in better condition now than he was then, and that he’d prefer to play for the Vikings or Falcons if he were to make a return.

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Herschel Walker Returns To Strikeforce Saturday Night Amid Talk Of NFL Return

 

Herschel Walker will step back into the Strikeforce cage this Saturday to take on Scott Carson. Walker was successful in his MMA debut by scoring a third round TKO over Greg Nagy. The most amazing thing about the fight wasn't Walker scoring a victory over the unheralded Nagy, it was the amazing physical condition that he was in. After a very physical twelve minutes that included the always present "adrenaline dump" that comes with a fight on the big stage, Walker was still breathing through his nose and looked completely fresh. That's not just impressive for an "old man," it's impressive for any mixed martial artist.

Walker will turn 49 in March but you wouldn't know it by looking at him. Always known as a man with an incredible work ethic, Herschel is built like an absolute tank. It's a  lifelong desire to push himself that brought him to mixed martial arts and now has him talking about a return to the NFL. The very mention of wanting back in the league boosted Walker to the top of internet trends.

He even claims that he ran a sub 4.40 time in the 40-yard dash as recently as February of 2010. Had I not been witness to the Nagy fight I'd doubt him, but knowing the shape he is in and how hard he pushes himself I'm inclined to take it as truth.

Still, an NFL return is a pipe dream at best. While being amazed by his physical talents, he remains a 49 year old man with a lot of mileage on his body. The weekly grind of the NFL is different than the training camp, fight night, rest period cycle of mixed martial arts. And getting hit by the beasts that populate America's most popular sports league is different than stepping into the cage with the Greg Nagys and Scott Carsons of the world.

Walker even talked to the difference in safety between football and MMA as covered by USA Today's Sergio Non:

"People shy away from it because they think it's a brutal, brutal sport, and I've said, 'Guys, MMA is safer than football and boxing,' " Walker said Monday during a conference call. "And people tell me they don't believe it. Am I not the most credible person to give you the answer to that? Because I played football."

...

MMA is safer than football because mixed martial arts allows tapouts and calls for referees can stop the action as soon as a fighter is too stunned to defend himself, Walker said.

"Football you have all the concussions, all the types of joint injuries," he said. "Whereas in MMA, if you get knocked out, the referee can stop it. Or you can tap out."

Scott Carson is 4-1 in his career with only one fight since 2001, a loss to Lorenz Larkin. Taking a few punches from him in the cage is not the same as the wear and tear of an NFL season or a head on collision with a James Harrison.

Still, Herschel has brought a lot of attention to the Strikeforce event. Even though, as pointed out by Kid Nate at Bloody Elbow, no one seems to be mentioning the promotion he is fighting for. The Sporting News didn't mention Strikeforce by name and The Dallas Morning News spoke of his "upcoming UFC fight."

Strikeforce has one of the most popular names on Google and Yahoo searches at the moment, they need to find a way to own the fight and promote themselves while Walker gives them a boost by speaking of a completely unrealistic return to the NFL.

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