Born on January 7, 1930, Val Joe Walker was drafted out of SMU by the Giants in the seventh round of the 1952 NFL draft as a futures pick, but was traded the following year before he ever reported to training camp. Walker, a high hurdles champion who tried out for the Olympics, was in camp with the College All-Stars in August 1953 when he was traded to Green Bay for a draft pick, and the fleet 6’1” 180 pounder proved to be a very fortuitous acquisition by the Pack.
Walker started at left safety opposite All-Pro Bobby Dillon for four years at the back end of the Packers’ secondary. In his book, T. J. Troup wrote that Val was a “Solid pass defender and a willing run defender.” Oddly, after a successful rookie year, Walker retired in 1954 to enter the oil business. However, he wrote a letter to teammate Bill Forester that July saying, “I sure did want to come back and try another year…I may still pack up and be up there any day now so keep the front door open.” Eventually, Walker did report and earned some All-Pro notice for the season.
His performance slipped in 1956, so Coach Blackbourn traded him to the Lions with Tobin Rote in the offseason. Walker retired again, but ended up playing that year for the 49ers before retiring for good. A solid safety during the dark days of the 1950s in Green Bay, the good-humored Walker passed away at the age of 83 in 2013.
(Adapted from Green Bay Gold)
All Walker custom cards are colorized.