Herschel Walker's past successes and controversies are colliding in Georgia

Herschel Walker's past successes and controversies are colliding in Georgia
Herschel Walker
Dave Pickoff/AP
  • Herschel Walker, with support from Donald Trump, is running against Rev. Rafael Warnock for the US Senate seat in Georgia.

  • Walker, one of the most famous athletes in Georgia history, is now a controversial figure thanks to his political stances and allegations of his violent past.

  • His campaign was rocked recently after a woman alleged that Walker paid her for an abortion.

  • Below we look at Walker's life, relationships, and how he became a Senate candidate worth as much as $65 million.

Before Herschel Walker was the Republican candidate in the key battle for the US Senate in Georgia, he was a star football player.

Herschel Walker
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

In three years at the University of Georgia, he was an All-American each season and won the Heisman Trophy in 1982.

Herschel Walker
Getty Images

Walker did not graduate from Georgia despite claims later that he graduated in the top 1% of his class at the school.

Herschel Walker
David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Read more: For years, Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker claimed he'd graduated in the top 1% of his class at University of Georgia — but he never graduated at all

In 1983, after his junior year, he turned pro and chose to sign a 3-year, $5 million contract with the New Jersey Generals of the upstart USFL. According to rules at the time, Walker was not eligible for the NFL until 1985.

Herschel Walker
Ron Lindsey/AP

Source: New York Times

In his final USFL season, he set the pro football record of 2,411 rushing yards, albeit in an 18-game season, which is two more matches than the standard NFL season at the time.

Herschel Walker
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

It was with the Generals that Walker first met Donald Trump, who became the team's owner in 1984. Trump gave Walker a contract extension that would have kept the running back with the Generals through 1989 and raised his total earnings to $10-11 million over seven years.

Herschel Walker
Dave Pickoff/AP

Source: New York Times

Despite the extension, the Dallas Cowboys drafted Walker in the fifth round of the 1985 draft. The risk paid off. When the USFL folded that year, Walker signed a 5-year, $5 million deal with the Cowboys.

Herschel Walker and Tom Landry
Herschel Walker with Cowboys coach Tom Landry.Douglas C. Pizac/AP

Source: Sun-Sentinel

After three seasons with the Cowboys, Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys and hired Jimmy Johnson to replace the legendary Tom Landry as coach. Johnson wanted to rebuild the team from scratch, so he traded his most valuable player, Walker, to the Minnesota Vikings in one of the biggest deals in league history. The Cowboys received four players and eight draft picks, using those to win three of the next six Super Bowls.

Herschel Walker
Jim Mone/AP

Source: Sun-Sentinel

Walker initially didn't want to go to Minnesota and made what he thought was an outrageous demand of $1.25 million, two cars, and a house. Walker told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that Jones called his bluff, so he accepted the trade. As of 2021, he still owns the house in Medina, Minnesota.

Herschel Walker
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Source: Twincities.com

Walker played 12 productive seasons in the NFL but was never able to recreate the dominance he showed at Georgia and in the USFL. After the Vikings, he spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants before going back to the Cowboys to end his career. After making the Pro Bowl in two of his first three seasons with the Cowboys, he never received the honor again.

Herschel Walker
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Walker now has an estimated net worth between $29 million and $65 million, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Herschel Walker
Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Source: AJC.com

According to his financial statements, he makes $850,000 a year in salaries from his poultry production company, two sports marketing companies, and a mental health provider, for whom he serves as a spokesperson. He also makes about $400,000 a year giving speeches.

Herschel Walker
YouTube/JBLM

Source: AJC.com

During his playing days, he also had lucrative endorsement deals with Adidas and Franklin Sports.

Herschel Walker
YouTube/ewjxn

Walker married Cindy DeAngelis Grossman in 1983. They had one son together — Christian — and divorced in 2002 after 19 years together.

Herschel Walker and wife Cindy
Herschel Walker and wife Cindy.Marty Lederhandler/AP

Source: NYPost

During the divorce, Cindy accused Walker of being "physically abusive" and having "extremely threatening behavior." She also said he pointed a gun at her head and threatened her with knives.

Cindy Grossman
YouTube/Republican Accountability PAC

Source: Republican Accountability PAC

Walker's son, Christian, also accused him of being abusive and not being honest about his past after a woman accused the staunchly anti-abortion candidate of paying for her to have an abortion.

Walker denied the report from The Daily Beast.

Walker revealed in his autobiography that he has dissociative identity disorder and said that led to his violent behavior. He said things unraveled when his football career ended, which was about the time his son was born.

Herschel Walker book
Amazon

Source: CNN

Walker also recently admitted to having three other children out of wedlock.

Herschel Walker
Bill Barrow/AP

Read more: Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker admits to having more secret kids, now saying he has 4 children

Outside of football, Walker tried his hand at other sports. While still in the NFL, he was a member of the US Bobsleigh team at the 1992 Winter Olympics. He finished seventh in the two-man event.

1982 US Bobsleigh team
John Hanlon /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

He also went 2-0 as an MMA fighter in 2010 and 2011.

Herschel Walker MMA
Esther Lin/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

He has always been in tremendous shape. At the age of 52, in 2014, Walker said he felt he could still play in the NFL.

Herschel Walker
Andy Marlin/Getty Images for EA Sports

Source: NFL.com

Outside of sports, he also competed on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."

Herschel Walker, Melania Trump, and Donald Trump
Michael Zarrilli/Getty Images

Trump later named Walker to the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.

Donald Trump and Herschel Walker.
Susan Walsh/AP

Source: USA Today

Walker also spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention, saying he and Trump have a "deep, personal relationship." More importantly for Walker, it was another toe being dipped into the pool of politics.

Herschel Walker
PBS

In 2021, Trump backed Walker to run for the US Senate in Georgia. Walker said at the time that he was only contemplating the move, and later denied that Trump asked him to run.

Herschel Walker
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Source: The Guardian

In May, Walker defeated five other candidates to win the Republican primary. He is now going against Rafael Warnock for a seat in the US Senate.

Herschel Walker, US Senate candidate in Georgia
Herschel Walker, GOP candidate for the US Senate for Georgia, speaks at a primary watch party Monday, May 23, 2022, at the Foundry restaurant in Athens, Ga., near the University of Georgia where once played football.Akili-Casundria Ramsess/AP

Walker's campaign was thrown into a frenzy in October after a former girlfriend alleged that the senate candidate reimbursed her $700 for an abortion. Walker denied the allegation.

Herschel Walker
Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker smiles during remarks during a campaign stop at Battle Lumber Co. on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

Source: The Daily Beast

Another unnamed woman said that Walker pressured her into having an abortion in 1993. Walker said the claim was a "lie."

Herschel Walker
Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker.Megan Varner/Getty Images

Source: CNN

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