Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bill Kilmer, Larry Johnson jersey, pictures

I received a return from Bill Kilmer on a Redskins helmet photo.  Mr. Kilmer had an excellent career at UCLA and finished fifth in the Heisman voting in 1960.  He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers and was used primarily as a running back.  He was involved in a car accident that made him miss the whole 1963 season.  He went to the New Orleans Saints and became a starting quarterback.  When he went to the Redskins and George Allen was when he had the most success.  He led the Redskins to the Super Bowl.  I asked him if it was tough to battle Sunny Jurgenson for the starting job and he said no.  I had read that the fans were kind of split between the two.  His favorite memory was beating the Cowboys.  He loved everywhere he played.

The second item I am going to mention I bought.  But it is extremely special to me.  I loved watching Larry Johnson play.  I became a fan of his when he was at UNLV and followed him throughout his career.  He was my favorite player.  I bought many of his shoes and started calling my grandma grandmama.  I did that for the rest of her life.  When I saw this autographed Charlotte Hornets jersey with the Grandmama inscription, I had to have it.  I bought it and as soon as it came it went onto my wall. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Luther Blue, Joe Bellino, Jon Condo, Harrison Smith

I have received a few more returns recently.

The first was from Luther Blue who was a receiver for the Detroit Lions when I was growing up.  His best season with the Lions was 1978 when he was a starting wide receiver.  He had 31 receptions for 350 yards.  I am surprised that he wasn't used more as a kick returner as he was an excellent one for the Iowa State Cyclones.  He had a great career for the Cyclones and was inducted into their Hall of Fame.

Joe Bellino was another return.  He was a Heisman Trophy winner for Navy.  He was an excellent all around football player as well as a great baseball player.  He served in the Navy/Naval Reserves for 28 years.  His favorite memory is watching his son score his first touchdown in a high school football game.  I asked him if he regretted choosing professional football over baseball and he said no, but he does think he could have been a pro baseball player.  His favorite part of playing with the Patriots was that some of his best friends today are his ex-Patriots teammates. 

Jon Condo of the Oakland Raiders signed my helmet photo.  He is the excellent long snapper for the Oakland Raiders and has been to the Pro Bowl.  I would not want that job.  You are on the spot every time that you step onto the field.  You saw the impact of his absence earlier this season when he was injured.  He answered my character question with hard work because it builds mental toughness.

The final return is from Harrison Smith.  He is a rookie for the Minnesota Vikings after an excellent career at Notre Dame.  He has stepped right in and is the starter at safety.  He actually returned an interception for a touchdown yesterday.  I hope he continues his success.  He said his favorite Notre Dame memory is beating USC in 2010.  I asked him about starting his first game and he said it was nerve racking but also fun.  The hardest part of the NFL so far for him is that everyone's very good every week.  He answered my character question with loyalty.

I will post pictures soon.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Jim Kleinsasser and picture updates

I also received another request back today from Jim Kleinsasser.  He was an excellent player for the Minnesota Vikings.  He came out of the University of North Dakota which shows that good players can be found anywhere.  He could do whatever was asked of him.  He was a great blocker who was used a lot on run plays but he also had great hands when given the opportunity.  It seemed like whenever there was a tough third down, he could be counted on.  I am very glad to add this autograph to my collection.  I love the players that will do whatever is asked without needing the recognition. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Doug Plank, Tim Harris, Chuck Foreman, Tootie Robbins, Gary Beban, Jordan Pacheco, Pat Neshek, Alex Karras

It has been a little while and the returns have piled up a little.  It is so great when you go to the mailbox and see your own handwriting. 

Doug Plank was my first return.  He was an excellent defensive back with the Chicago Bears.  He teamed up with Gary Fencik to form a hard hitting pair.  His number 46 was what Buddy Ryan named his defense after.  That is respect.  The hits he put on others really hurt him physically.  That is the sad part of the game.  He has done very well as a coach.  He answered my character question: everything is built on trust; trust is knowing that you believe, understand, can count on another to the right thing and be there when you need them.

Tim Harris was an excellent pass rusher who had double digit sacks three times including 19 in one season with the Packers.  He was part of the San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl Championship team. I remember his sack celebration.  I enjoyed watching him play for the 49ers.  He was someone you had to account for.  He said that honesty was the most important character trait.

Chuck Foreman was an excellent running back for the Minnesota Vikings.  He broke the 1,000 yard mark in three straight seasons and was a five time pro bowler.  He was more than just a runner, he had incredible hands.  He led the NFL in receptions (!!) in 1975.  How many times has that happened?  I love the fact that he was such a great all around back.  He went to multiple Super Bowls with the Vikings.  In addition to signing my picture, he signed my character question card, added a signed card, and a signed ticket from a Vikings game.  What a great return!

Tootie Robbins was an offensive lineman for the St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals.  I watched Tootie Robbins play while I was a kid living in Belleville, Illinois.  I have the upmost respect for offensive lineman.  It is a tough position where you take a lot of grief.  He said his favorite memory is being drafted.  He prefered Phoenix to St. Louis.  He said Phoenix is real nice and clean, and he can wear shorts year round.  The toughest player to block was Reggie White.  His family had the biggest impact on him. 

Gary Beban was a Heisman Trophy winner at UCLA.  I really like UCLA football and it is an honor to his autograph in my collection.  He was an athlete and academic.  He had a huge game in a victory over USC and OJ Simpson.  It probably helped him to beat OJ for the Heisman.  He also led UCLA to an upset victory over #1 Michigan State in the Rose Bowl.  He also has been very successful after his retirement.

My final return is Jordan Pacheco.  I was able to see Jordan Pacheco play in the minor leagues so it has been really cool to see him in the majors with the Colorado Rockies.  I wish him all the best in his career.  His favorite memory is have his family name on the back of his major league jersey.  His favorite part of playing for the Nuts was his teammates.  His career goals are to be the best person and baseball player he can be.  He said that honesty is the most important character trait.

A few thoughts:
My prayers go out to Pat Neshek and his wife on the loss of their son.  I am a fan of his and the A's and it was tough to hear about their loss.  As someone who has lost two children, I can imagine a little of what they are going through. I wish them all the best.

I remember watching Alex Karras on Webster.  I liked him.  I was lucky enough to get his autograph last year.  I send my thoughts to his family.  RIP.