New York Jets: Wesley Walker Throwback Thursday


<img class="size-full wp-image-54067" src="" alt="Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets logo prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit:

Jim Brown

-USA TODAY Sports” width=”850″ height=”566″ /> Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets logo prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Thursday once again, and that means I get to write one of my favorite pieces of late. In the last two segments of Throwback Thursday, we took look at two of my childhood favorite Jets; Emerson Boozer and Don Maynard

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Today I want to look at one of my all time favorite Jet receivers. As you might have figured out by now, I’m an offensive minded football fan. I love to watch wide open offensive game plans, and explosive players playing in them. Wesley Walker was exactly that type of explosive player for the Jets.

If by chance you never had the opportunity to watch Walker play, I invite you to travel back and take a look at his brilliant career. If you’re already a fan, join me in catching up on Walker after football ended for him.

Next: Walker's College Days

Walker was born in San Bernadino, California on May 26, 1955. He started his football career for Carson High School in Carson, California. Walker set many of the school records for receiving and kick returns before graduation and was a highly sought after college recruit.

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Wesley Walker played his college football at the University of California. In his senior year of college he set the all-time mark for highest average yards per reception, a mark he still holds today. Walker was a dangerous deep threat receiver for California, his speed and elusiveness earned him All American Honors in his senior season.

Walker left California a highly touted prospect for the NFL. His deep threat ability and elite speed made him an attractive prospect. Little did anyone know, Walker had just begun to scratch the surface.

Next: Jets Career

The Jets drafted Walker in the second round of the 1977 NFL Draft. Measuring in at 6’0″/179, Walker broke right into a starting role for the Jets. Walker wasted no time making his explosive playing style felt around the league either. In his rookie campaign, Walker set the all time Jet rookie WR mark for most yards in a season with 740 yards. The record stood until 1996 when Keyshawn Johnson broke it with an 840 yard effort.

Walker was known for explosiveness off the line, his deep threat speed, and his ability to go up and fight for contested balls. He played physically, while also being an excellent route runner. He was an excellent receiver after the catch and often gave up his body to make the catch. Walker was fearless, taking big hits from safeties, and often seemingly effortlessly spinning away to pick up a few more yards.

Walker played hard. Unknown by the Jets at the time, Walker was drafted blind in one eye, but to watch him track a deep ball, you’d never have guessed. Walker never let the disability slow him, he worked hard on and off the field and was a true student of the game. He was an exciting player to watch, and quickly became a Jet favorite at Shea Stadium.

Walker went on to play 13 seasons in the NFL, all for the New York Jets. During his years with the Jets his final stats read like this; 438 receptions, 8,306 yards and 71 TD’s. His career average yards/reception stands at 19, a team record!

IHe stands second in the rankings for most career  yards receiving (8,306), most receiving yards as a rookie (740), most 100 yard receiving games (22), most TD’s career (71) and most TD’s receiving season (12). If that were not enough, Walker holds the team’s longest reception; a 96 yard pass from then Jet QB Ken O’Brien.

I spent many a windy cold Sunday afternoon cheering on the Jets and Wesley Walker at Shea Stadium. Walker brought fans like myself something to cheer about. He added excitement to games, when the ball was thrown his way, you could hear the collective gasp from around the “horseshoe”, and then the inevitable explosion of cheers as Walker came down with the catch.

It may have been many years ago, but I still recall. It was an exciting time to be a Jet fan, and Walker just made it more fun to watch.

Next: After Football

Walker retired after the 1989 season. He had a short career in the broadcast booth before moving beyond football. Walker worked as a physical education teacher at the elementary school level as well.

Unfortunately for Walker, his football career came at great cost to him personally in retirement. Walker’s willingness to sacrifice his body on the football field has left him in a constant state of pain. Two hits, one in 1986 and another in 1989 left Walker temporarily paralyzed. Both those injuries are blamed for the many medical issues that have plagued Walker.

Walker sadly has had several spinal procedures and suffers from severe nerve damage. His days of playing the game he loved came at a tremendous price. Walker, despite barely being able to walk some days, still can be found on the radio as a guest commentator. He continues to live not far from NYC, and turns 60 years old this May.

Thanks for joining me on my journey back to remember a Jet great.  Walker will always go done as one of my favorites. How about yours? Let’s talk Jets football!!

Editors note: Back in 2012, we interviewed Wesley Walker, for anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to read, take a look at part one and two.

Next: 2015 Two Round Mock Draft