In this edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we pay tribute to the best outside linebacker in franchise history.
19. Wayne Walker
Outside Linebacker. 1958-72 Detroit
For fifteen seasons, he was a fixture at outside linebacker for the Lions. The 6-foot-2, 225 pound Walker was a fourth-round choice for the Lions in 1958 out of the University of Idaho. When he retired after the 1972 season, he had played in 200 games over 15 years, both of which are still club records. He was a two-time All-Pro (1964-65), and was selected to three Pro Bowls between 1964 and 1966. Like Alex Karras, Walker also had many run-ins with ex-Green Bay Packer lineman Jerry Kramer. In Kramer’s book, “Instant Replay,” he describes Walker, who coincidentally was Kramer’s college teammate at the University of Idaho as, “my friend off the field, a nice sweet guy, but on the field, he is a miserable sonofabitch.”
Wayne for many years also performed double-duty as the Lions’ place-kicker. He still ranks seventh on the Lions’ all-time scoring list with 345 points, 333 of which came because of his toe. Throughout his career, Walker was a linebacker skilled at defending both the run and the pass. He also had the fortune of playing with two outstanding middle linebackers in Hall of Famer Joe Schmidt and Pro Bowler Mike Lucci.
Walker was also known for his great sense of humor. After his retirement at the end of the 1972 season, Walker held a farewell party at Detroit’s legendary Lindell Athletic Club. At the bash, he unveiled a memento that would hang proudly over the bar until its closing in December of 2002. What was the memento you ask? His bronzed jockstrap of course!