One of the most electrifying performers for the Green Bay Packers in the 1980's was Walter Stanley. The gifted wide receiver and kick returner was drafted by the Pack in the fourth round of the 1985 draft out of Mesa College in Colorado, despite not having played competitive football for the previous three years.
Like many rookies, Stanley first made his mark in the NFL on special teams. He led the Packers in punt returns during his rookie year with 14 returns for a supurb 12.7 yard average.
The 1986 season saw Stanley emerge as one of the budding stars in the league.
His 1,617 all-purpose yards ranked him among the NFL's leaders for the season. He led the Packers in both kickoff returns with 559 yards (20.0 average), and punt returns, with 316 yards (9.6 average). He also tacked on 723 yards receiving (20.7 average) for the season.
The highlight of the season came on Thanksgiving Day in a nationally televised game against the Detroit Lions. Stanley tallied three scores in the 44-40 Packers victory, including a spectacular 83 yard punt return for a touchdown.
The elusive Stanley was Green Bay's primary offensive weapon in the '87 campaign, leading the Packers in receptions (38), average yards per catch (17.7) and punt returns (28 for 173 yards).
The Chicago native's 1988 season was off to a promising start when it was cut short in week 7 by a shoulder injury. Stanley suffered a season-ending shoulder separation and finished the year with 436 yards in 7 games.
In his four seasons with the Packers, the flamboyant Stanley amassed 3,402 all-purpose yards, an average of 14.79 yards per "touch."
Off the field, Stanley was active in the support of the Vince Lombardi, John Elway & Michael Jordan McDonald's charity golf classics and Boys' Town.
Walter Stanley went on to play one more successful season with the Detroit Lions before retiring from the game of football. After leaving the gridiron behind, Walter began working in the investments business.
He currently owns his own business, Stanley Pro, a sports agency based in Colorado that represents football players and other athletes.
On a personal side, Walter enjoys spending time with his wife Elizabeth and his daughter Daisha Gabrielle. He remains in excellent shape, playing basketball, softball, skiing, jet skiing and camping in his leisure time.
Walter still does a large amount of charity work. He is active with LEAP, a non-profit organization headed by his former college roommate and NBA star Jay Humphries.
Additionally, Walter recently donated a 911 Porsche Cabriolet to the Gerizim Community Baptist Church and the Campaign to Save our Children Foundation. The car will be raffled off this October with the proceeds going to help bring back inner-city youth programs in Wisconsin and Chicago. According to Walter, "The fans always supported me and I wanted to give something back to the community."
GREEN BAY PACKERS SEASON RESULTS (1985-88)
1985: 8-8 (2nd, NFC Central)
1986: 4-12 (4th, NFC Central)
1987: 5-9-1 (3rd, NFC Central)
1988: 4-12 (5th, NFC Central)
Editors Note: If you would like to find out more about the Campaign to Save our Children Foundation, you can call (773) 955-0978 for information.