“Somebody got to him the night before the game.”

I don’t know what it is about contract offers on the eve of national championship games, but it turns out that Herschel Walker was wrestling with a $1 million dollar check from the owner of the USFL New Jersey Generals the night before the 1983 Sugar Bowl.  Like Vince Dooley two years before with an Auburn job offer, Walker had second thoughts and wanted to walk away.

Unfortunately, unlike Dooley, Herschel was an amateur and couldn’t.

“(Walker) got into a trap and couldn’t get out of it,” Dooley said. “He tried his best to get out of it. They tore up what he had signed, which is what they said they would do. He said he didn’t want to do this and they said ‘If you’ll sign it, if you don’t want to do it by 7 a.m., we’ll tear it up.’

“And guess what happened? They put all this pressure on him all night long, but the guy tore (the document) up and flushed it down the commode. But somebody made a copy of it and released it to the Boston Globe, and that’s how it all jumped out of there.”

Somebody made a copy and released it, hunh.  How convenient for the Generals.

So Walker never takes the money, cancels the contract and still wound up having his college eligibility terminated.  I bet that rankled.  Maybe that explains why Dooley wound up suing the NCAA a few years later over its control of television.


Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

35 responses to ““Somebody got to him the night before the game.”

  1. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    Trump should be banned from immigrating to the Classic City … 🙂


  2. Macallanlover

    Supreme Court decision was June,1984 but the lawsuit beginning, and UGA joining it was earlier than this event. But it was a crummy time to lay that heavy issue before Hershel, what would another week, or two, matter?


  3. Dolly Llama

    Herschel may very well be the best college player ever, but the last time he suited up in a Georgia uniform, I was twelve, and I’m not young.

    He is to Georgia what Jimmy Valvano is to NC State. It’s been 30+ years, y’all. I won’t say “Let it go” — we should never do that — but if we haven’t created a new high-water mark in that amount of time, clearly something’s wrong.


    • JG Shellnutt

      Well, hello, Dolly. That kind of stings to read this morning. I’m not sure I was ready for that, coming off of such a happy few days with my family.


    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Uh, Dolly, “he is to Georgia what Jimmy Valvano is to NC State”

      You mean this Jimmy Valvano?


      Or this Jimmy Valvano?


      Herschel is so not to Georgia what Valvano is to NC State…. Please.


    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Let what go? And speaking of high water marks, HW had a problem topping his very first game against UT. Bill Bates still has cleat marks on his face. No one else comes to mind on any team since that has created a new high water mark.

      I was out of law school and practicing when he played and I’m not old, dammit so yeah, you’re young.


    • Timphd

      Sorry Dolly. You are dead wrong on this one. I was in grad school in 1980, I saw him run over Bill Bates. I saw him win the Sugar Bowl with a separated shoulder so that he could only carry the ball in one arm. I saw him leap over defenders on the goal line like Superman. I can not “let it go” and neither should anyone else who is a college football fan. He was superhuman and has not been matched since. May never be.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      The fact Trump backed a truckload of money to Herchel’s door says all you need to know about how elite he was. If you’re going to start a league or build a team from scratch, who’s better to have lead it than #34. The USFL didn’t work out, but it goes to show the lengths people would go to to have Herschel on their team.


    • Go Dawgs!

      If he’s the best college player ever, then that’s everyone’s high water mark. You don’t keep having a best college player ever every year.


    • Hunkering Hank

      Shut up. Always love Herschel.


  4. @gatriguy

    Shocking that something involving Trump wasn’t done on the up and up.


  5. illini84

    Speaking of greats and the Illini: “”How would you like to make a hundred thousand dollars, or maybe a million?” Pyle asked. Grange wrote in his 1953 autobiography that he was so stunned that he was speechless, but nodded yes. Pyle offered no details and asked Red to keep quiet about their conversation.

    Within weeks, Pyle met with the co-owners of the Chicago Bears, one of the founding teams of the NFL. Speaking with George Halas and Ed “Dutch” Sternaman, Pyle offered Grange’s professional services immediately following Illinois’s last game that fall. In return for half of the Bears’ gate receipts, Pyle proposed that Grange would play in the last games of Chicago’s season, plus exhibition games during the winter. Halas, who also coached and played right end, and Sternaman, a halfback, haggled long into the night with Pyle about the terms before agreeing to the deal.

    Pyle and Grange spoke again several weeks later. Red accepted the promoter’s offer of 60 percent of their shared half of the Bears’ gate receipts. According to Grange, Pyle insisted on forgoing any written contract or paying Grange anything before the season ended. “We don’t want to do anything,” he told Red, “to jeopardize your standing as a college player.”


    • Russ

      Great post. I had heard that Grange was approached in college. This has gone on for ages.

      Oh, and I’m not sure Herschel has been eclipsed by any program or player anywhere. I saw him play along with many other great ones, but not sure when we will see an equal.


      • I can answer that, Russ. No, we will never see his equal. I saw every home game while he was at UGA and can recall his speed and power like it was yesterday. Some may argue that there have been better overall backs but I can say for a fact that no one has done the things that Herschel did. They have not done those things because physically they are not able to. He was one of a kind.


        • Macallanlover

          So true. And even rival fans do not dispute it, it just isn’t close. But, time will erode that fact as younger generations will want their own “champion” At this point, Herschel is the one comparison athlete from over three decades ago that doesn’t have to wear the “best of his time” label. He is still “the man”, and I firmly believe he could he could play this coming season and make All American all over again. Rare, very rare specimen.


      • illini84

        After Howard Griffith scored 8 touchdowns in a game for the Illini they interviewed Red and he said he couldn’t even think about playing in the modern game.


  6. AusDawg85

    It poured rain in NO that New Year’s Eve…miserable time in the quarter. Blackledge’s pass was right in front of the UGA student section. I think he’s the best color commentator in CFB right now, but will never forgive him for that. If you meet a Penn Stater, ask them what the hell a “Nittnay lion” is. Stupid but amusing story.


  7. JAX

    I recall the ’83 Sugar Bowl clearly as an 11 year old who cried after the game while Shock the Monkey played in the background. I have no interest in Penn State, Joe Pa, the horrific scandal and events involving Sandusky, and I don’t give two shits about this Franklin-coached team. But I do give a damn about losing to them on 1/1/1983 and watching that back-of-the-endzone bullshit catch and the SI cover that followed which showed Sanchez defeated with his hands on his knees. As it the Marino 4th down miracle couldn’t happen again, and with another Pennsylvania team no doubt.

    And let me also say that while absolutely no one in this country will give a damn about this version of the Gator Bowl, there are some of us that have been waiting 32 years for payback against these guys and I want to see us beat their fucking brains in.

    Yeah, I’m still mad about losing that game and if you can’t understand it then that’s your problem.

    F you Penn State.


    • Damn right Jax. I have never read a more beautiful piece of writing. I agree with every word 100%, especially the last sentence. I was older than you in ’83 but my heart was broken just the same. I hate everything about Penn State. Fuck those goat fucking perverts.


    • Mayor

      Great post!!!


    • Russ

      It was the toughest loss I’d ever experienced. I was 100% certainly we were the best team in football that year. They just seemed like a complete team to me. Losing to State Penn was a kick in the nuts and I don’t think I even went back out on Bourbon Street after that game. At least losing to Marino the year before didn’t cost us anything.

      But I will add, beating Texas and their arrogant fans the following year with a flawed team was just about as sweet as losing was bitter. Good times. Oh, and it’s still 10 to 9 in Dallas.


      • JAX

        Even as a young boy, I could see that PSU had a more balanced offense and was a more complete team. Such a large % of our offense was centered, and for obvious reasons, around HW, while PSU run/pass % was something like 48/52 and with two first-round draft choices handling those duties.

        Still hurts though because we could have won the game if not for the miracle pass and catch at the end. TWO years in a ROW!!


    • +1 – that game ripped my heart out.


      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Sorry guys, I did everything I could, changed seats in the Dome, wore the best hat EVAH!!! This is the game I began to understand Kharma and Bitches. Oh well.


  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Sorry to change the subject, but Minnesota’s new coach has a striking resemblance to brother Flounder.