Wayne Harrison Walker (born September 30, 1936 in Boise, Idaho) is a former professional American football player and sports broadcaster. He played outside linebacker for the Detroit Lions for fifteen seasons from 1958-72. Wearing #55, he played in 200 regular season games as a 6'2", 225 lb. linebacker, the most ever at that position.
Walker was raised in Boise, Idaho, and passed on an offer to play professional baseball
in order to play college football
at the University of Idaho
, as a center
and middle linebacker for new head coach Skip Stahley
. In his senior season in 1957
, he served as a team captain
. In that era, Idaho was a member of the Pacific Coast Conference
, the forerunner of the Pac-10
. Walker's teammate (and roommate) at Idaho was Jerry Kramer
, a future All-Pro offensive lineman
) with the Green Bay Packers
. Both players were selected for the East-West Shrine Game
, the College All-Star Game
(vs. the 1957
NFL champs (Detroit Lions
) at Soldier Field
in summer 1958; defeating the Lions 35-19), and in the fourth round of the 1958 NFL Draft
. They were the first players from Idaho to be drafted by the pros, both picked in the top 50. In the Shrine Game at Kezar Stadium
in San Francisco
, Walker had fifteen tackles
, two interceptions
, and blocked a kick
. He was voted the outstanding defensive player of the game.
Walker was the 45th overall pick of the 1958 NFL Draft
(Kramer was the 39th), held on December 2, 1957
(first four rounds).
Both Walker (#53) and Kramer (#64) had their numbers retired at Idaho, and both would serve, in mid-career, as placekickers
for their respective NFL teams. In college, Walker was the long snapper
on the kicks, with Kramer handling the placekicking for the Vandals.
After his retirement from the NFL, Walker was the longtime Sports Director
in San Francisco
, and was a commentator
for the San Francisco 49ers
' radio broadcasts for over twenty years. He also broadcast regional NFL games for several years on CBS
. Walker retired from broadcasting in 1999 and has resided in the Boise
area since 1994. Diagnosed with throat cancer in June 2007, Walker has recovered.
Great Linebackers of the NFL, 1970, Richard Kaplan, ISBN 0-394-80152-0