American Football Database
American Football Database
Born (1968-06-01) June 1, 1968 (age 53)
Ruston, Louisiana
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight216 pounds (98 kg)
Position(s)Running back
CollegeGrambling State
NFL Draft1991 / Round 6
Jersey #(s)42
Career highlights
Awards1990 Walter Payton Award
* Pro Football Reference
1991Green Bay Packers

Walter Kevin Dean is an American former football running back. He played college football for the Grambling State Tigers at Grambling State University. In his senior year, he led the nation in rushing and won the 1990 Walter Payton Award as the most outstanding player in Division I-AA football. He played professional football for one season in the National Football League (NFL) after he was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 1991 NFL Draft.

Early life

Dean was born on June 1, 1968 in Ruston, Louisiana to Walter, a concrete company dispatcher, and Betty Dean, an administrative secretary at Grambling State University.[1][2] He also has a younger brother who played soccer, Keith, who was one of Louisiana's leading interscholastic players, and with whom he shared a bunk-bed according to their mother.[2] Walter Dean attended Grambling State University Laboratory High School in Grambling, Louisiana[3] and turned down offers from major college football programs such as Nebraska and Louisiana State in order to attend Grambling State. Dean said, "I wanted to go to a college where everybody I knew wouldn't have to sign up for a frequent-flyer program in order to see me play."[2]

College career

At Grambling, Dean studied business management and played football for the Grambling State Tigers as a running back. He earned the nickname "American Express" due to the belief of his coach, Eddie Robinson, that the team should 'never leave home without him', a saying similar to the slogan of the eponymous credit card company. Sports Illustrated called Dean possibly the "best runner produced by a predominantly black college since Walter Payton came out of Jackson State in 1975."[2] Former Grambling and Los Angeles Rams fullback Paul "Tank" Younger said about Dean, "You take one look at him and you think, hey, he doesn't look that tough. He isn't the huge, muscle-flexing type of back, but once you see him run the ball, you want to check out his scrapbook."[2]

At Grambling, Dean recorded a career total of 3,328 yards and 41 touchdowns.[4] As a junior in 1989, Dean scored 18 touchdowns and set a school rushing record when he compiled 1,269 yards.[2][4] In 1990, Dean recorded 17 touchdowns and the Division I-AA season-best 1,401 rushing yards.[4] Against Elizabeth City, he recorded 137 yards on just 15 carries (9.13 average). Against Hampton, he compiled a career-high 232 yards and helped lead the Tigers to a 22-3 victory.[2] Grambling finished the season with an 8–3 record, including a win against their arch-rival, Southern, in the Bayou Classic.[4]

Eddie Robinson believed that Dean was deserving of the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to the best college football player, but acknowledged that voters would not seriously consider a Division I-AA player for the honor.[2] Dean did, however, win the Walter Payton Award, which is the award bestowed annually upon Division I-AA football's most outstanding player.[4]

Professional football

Dean was selected in the sixth round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers (149th pick overall). He then played one season for Green Bay. In 1991, he saw action in nine games and recorded one kick return and one fumble.[1][3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Walter Dean Statistics, Pro Football Reference, retrieved July 3, 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 The Deans Of Grambling, Sports Illustrated, October 8, 1990.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Walter Dean Past Stats, Database Football, retrieved July 3, 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Walter Payton Award – History, The Sports Network, retrieved July 3, 2009.