Paul Palmer (American football)

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Paul Palmer
No. 6, 25, 26
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1964-10-14) October 14, 1964 (age 53)
Bethesda, Maryland
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 184 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school: Potomac (MD) Churchill
College: Temple
NFL Draft: 1987 / Round: 1 / Pick: 19
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts: 451
Rushing yards: 1,700
Receptions: 88
Receiving yards: 892
Touchdowns: 10
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Paul Woodrow Palmer (born October 14, 1964) is a former professional American football running back in the National Football League for the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Temple University. The runner up in the 1986 Heisman Trophy voting, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame on January 8th, 2018. 1986 -

Early years[edit]

Palmer attended Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland. He went on to star at Temple University.

Palmer was the runner-up to Vinny Testaverde for the 1986 Heisman Trophy and holds rushing records during his college career at Temple University. After being found in violation of NCAA policies for signing with an agent before his eligibility expired, sixteen of his marks and the six victories the school registered in the 1986 season were eliminated from the record books. He still holds several school records including career rushing yards: 3,029 (1983–85).[1]

On January 8th, 2018, Palmer was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame alongside Charles Woodson, Ed Reed and Calvin Johnson.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Palmer was selected in the first round (19th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he led the AFC in kickoff return average (24.3 yards per attempt). After having clashes with the coaching staff and not being able to take over the starting running back position from Christian Okoye, he was waived on September 4, 1989.[3] He rushed for 607 yards in two seasons.

Detroit Lions[edit]

On September 5, 1989, Palmer was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions.[4] After five games without a single rushing attempt, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys on October 16, in exchange for an eighth round draft choice (#194-Willie Green).[5]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

In 1989, he became the starting running back after Herschel Walker was traded to the Minnesota Vikings. Palmer led the Cowboys with 446 yards on 112 carries during 9 games, on a team that would finish with a 1–15 record for the 1989 season, and that had the second lowest 16-game rushing total in franchise history (after the 2012 season), with quarterback Troy Aikman as the team's second-leading rusher with 302 yards. Palmer played a key role in the only win the team had that season (against the Washington Redskins), when he registered the only 100-yard rushing game of his career, after gaining 110 yards and scoring a touchdown.[6]

Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

In 1990, the Cincinnati Bengals signed him in Plan B free agency. Even though he led the team in kickoff return yardage during the preseason, he didn't make the team.[7]

Barcelona Dragons (WLAF)[edit]

In 1991, he was drafted by the Barcelona Dragons of the World League of American Football. During the first 4 games he was the league's second leading rusher, but a hamstring injury limited him to just 39 yards the rest of the season. He finished as the team's second leading-rusher, recording 358 yards and 3 touchdowns.[8]

Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

On June 27, 1991, he was signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles.[9] He was released on August 5.[10]

Barcelona Dragons (WLAF)[edit]

Palmer finished his career professional in the World League of American Football with the Barcelona Dragons in 1992.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Missanelli, M.G. (July 26, 1988). "Temple Offers To Forfeit 1986 Victories". Philadelphia Media Network (Digital), LLC. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Dallas Sends Pelluer to Chiefs, Picks Up Palmer From Lions". Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Finally, Cowboys Get a Victory : Dallas: Return of Redskin quarterback Doug Williams is spoiled". Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Paul Palmer Is Released By Bengals". Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Paul Palmer Gets Another Chance With New League". Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Eagles sign former Chief". Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Birds Waive Paul Palmer". Retrieved June 18, 2016. 

External links[edit]