Herschel Walker talks about ESPNU documentary

Wed, Sep 7

Herschel Walker, star of the documentary "Herschel," will be forced to miss Wednesday's premiere.

"I have to head back to Arkansas for a sales meeting at my chicken factory," Walker said Wednesday afternoon at ESPN's campus in Bristol, Conn. "I have a regular job. I have to go back to work."

That's the Herschel Walker most people don't know.

He isn't about the glitz. He isn't about accolades. He's about getting back to work.

Most people are only familiar with Walker's athletic achievements. He won a Heisman Trophy at the University of Georgia, played in the defunct USFL for three years and the NFL for 11 years. He finished seventh at the 1992 Winter Olympics in the two-man bobsled and now is trying his hand at mixed martial arts.

"They don't know that I have this food service company; I have a drapery company and I supervise six hospitals around the United States," said the 49-year-old Walker, who spends most of his time in Texas, in order to be near his 11-year-old son. "I've done so much more outside of sports. I never let the grass grow under my feet. I'm always moving."

That's what Walker hopes fans will see when they watch his movie. ESPN created four one-hour documentaries highlighting the traditions, rivalries and unique stories of the Southeastern Conference. The "Storied" series will debut on ESPNU on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, with the first one focused on Walker.

"I wouldn't change anything about my past, because it's made me who I am today," said Walker, one of seven children in a blue-collar family. "You have to remember: You need to crack some eggs to make omelettes. And I did crack some eggs."

"Herschel" explores how Walker's career in the SEC was legendary, but his journey off the field was filled with struggle and ultimately, redemption. Growing up in rural Georgia, Walker was bullied for being overweight and having a severe stutter. He turned those taunts into motivation. Unable to afford weight-training equipment, Walker trained himself by doing 5,000 pushups and sit-ups every day after school. He became a star running back in high school and shattered state records. At Georgia, Walker led the school to its only undisputed national championship and won the 1982 Heisman Trophy. He is considered one of the SEC's and college football's greatest players ever.

But despite those accomplishments, Walker endured mental anguish for years over unresolved childhood traumas. Eventually he was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder and underwent intensive psychotherapy.

"I had a personality that won the Heisman Trophy, one that went to the NFL, one that went to the Olympics and one who wanted to kill me," Walker said. "But I sought help and I received it, and I'm much better today because of it."

The film includes interviews with Walker's family, former Georgia coaches Vince Dooley and Mike Cavan, and teammates Frank Ros and Joe Happe, as well as his high school coach, his psychotherapist and former New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump.

"I'm living proof you can overcome anything," Walker said. "Hopefully, after people watch, they will look at their lives and realize they can do anything."