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Friday, June 10, 2011

Still chiseled, Herschel imparts his knowledge to his former team

Herschel Walker has been hanging around the Georgia football program the past two days. He met with the team early Friday morning, and according to the Twitter updates of a few players left quite an impression.

"A 49 year old man just showed the #UGA football players how it's really done. And when I say 49 year old man, I mean Herschel Walker," wrote linebacker Brandon Burrows.

"Great First workout with Hershel Walker. "Georgia Means Something!" wrote linebacker Christian Robinson.

Walker also met the media on Thursday. I had meetings in Macon on Thursday and wasn't able to attend the media availability with my Twitter buddy Walker. But staff correspondent, friend to the stars and all-around swell guy Fletcher Page was there, and here's what he filed:

ATHENS – Herschel Walker couldn’t recall the last team he spoke to the football team at Georgia as he met with the media Thursday.

With his always-busy schedule as the primary culprit for his lack of trips to Athens, Walker finally found time to return to the football grounds where he famously dominated in the early 80s.

“To be honest, I was happy they asked me to come back,” Walker, who now trains and fights in mixed martial arts, said. “Sometimes I think people forget about you when you start getting old.”

Walker, 49, is just as physically impressive as he’s ever been. He says he’s still eating one meal a day, and is still pumping out a considerable amount of push-ups and sit-ups on a daily basis. He’s currently gearing up for a match in August.

“Doctors always want to test me,” he said, pulling his shirtsleeve up a bit to reveal his right biceps muscle. “But I’m not on steroids or anything. This is all natural.”
Walker spoke to the football team on Thursday night, and plans to work out with the players on Friday.

Flexing his modest charm as much as his biceps, Walker said he wanted to lift with the team “just to show that I can work out a little bit. I’m still in a little bit of shape,” he said in a profound understatement.

“My message is going to be more staying together as a team,” Walker, who won the 1982 Heisman, said. “One of the things people don’t realize, and I tell everyone one this and I probably shouldn’t, is that I hear about all these other teams at the first of the year. I don’t know who is going to be No. 1, Alabama or who else… The thing is, who’s better is who’s going to put it on out there right now in this hot sun …

"There’s going to be days like this one when it’s going to be extremely hot, but you’ve got to go out there and get it. I love working like this here. That’s what I want to stress to the guys is sometimes it’s not going to be happy times. But that’s OK as long as you get the time in. That’s what is going to make you a champion.”

Walker gushed about every sport at Georgia, even making mention of the program’s successes in softball and equestrian. He said he keeps up with the football team “more than people would think,” and said he hopes to attend more home games in the future.

“I watch a lot of UGA football,” he said. “This past year I was kind of upset because I’d say, ‘Oh Jeez, what’s going on.’ But I’ve kept up with UGA football all the time.”

What was going on was the worst season in 14 years at Georgia. The Bulldogs finished 6-7, losing in the Liberty Bowl to Central Florida.

While Walker casually avoided a question asking for specifics on why Georgia has stumbled, he did say, “I don’t know whether anything is missing.

“I’m happy with what’s going on,” he continued. “I think they had a great recruiting year. There’s no doubt Alabama and LSU are going to be strong again. But who knows what is going to happen. Like I said, the kids got to realize, hey when you step out there between those lines anything can happen. But if you think the guy across from you is better, you let him beat you. But I look at it like he puts his helmet on just like I did, and we can go at it. I think Georgia can do well.”

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