When REM made their network TV debut in 1983, David Letterman asked “who else is from Athens?”  to which Mike Mills helpfully replied, “Herschel Walker”.   Who’d have guessed that more than a quarter century later, the Bulldog standout (and centerpiece of one of the most lopsided trades in professional sports history) would be planning his mixed martial arts debut? MMA Fanhouse’s Ariel Helman reports Walker has signed an agreement with Strikeforce and will begin training with an eye towards making a 2010 competitive debut.

“This isn’t a publicity stunt or a gimmick,” Strikeforce director of communications Mike Afromowitz said. “Herschel Walker has tremendous athleticism, and he has always shown that off the gridiron. He’s accomplished a lot in his life and in the world of sports. His accomplishments speak for themselves, and we hope that his athleticism can transition into a successful MMA career.”

Although Walker is known for his football career, he does have a sixth-degree black belt in taekwondo and competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in the two-man bobsled, finishing seventh.

In November 2007, Walker announced on HDNet’s Inside MMA that he would appear on a MMA reality show with Jose Canseco and other former professional athletes, however, the show never made it past the pre-production stages.

“I’ve been training for several years. I would play college football games on Saturday and then compete in martial arts tournaments on Sunday after church I’m now looking forward to opening up another chapter in my life and to competing in MMA,” Walker said via press release.

I’ve little doubt Walker is a more credible multi-sport athlete than say, Mark Gastineau or Ed “Too Tall” Jones.  But unless Strikeforce plans to introduce a senior circuit (or, more likely, Walker is matched with questionable opponents) this sounds like a maiming-in-the-making.