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.