Friday, November 23, 2012

William Floyd, Dallas Clark, Jim Fahnhorst, Keith Fahnhorst, Gene Mingo, Kirk Cousins, Ron Powlus, Gino Cappelletti

It has been awhile.  I was planning on updating this week with my last returns and then today I got a 4 return day!  It was a nice walk back from the mailbox.

I really was happy to get the return from William "Bar None" Floyd.  I became a big fan of his while he was at Florida State.  He looked like a monster in his Seminoles uniform.  I was lucky enough to get to watch him play a lot (on tv) while he was with the 49ers, living in the Bay Area.  He was a great fullback and I still remember a card that I had that was his jersey on one side and Moose Johnston's on the other to depict the top two fullbacks.  He had excellent hands out of the backfield.  I wish he could have stayed with the 49ers but he did well with the Panthers.  He signed a 49ers photo helmet for me.

I was lucky to get back a return from Dallas Clark, a great tight end that is extremely kind to collectors.  I remember watching him when he was playing at the University of Iowa.  He had a great career there and man did he do well with Peyton Manning and the Colts.  He had an amazing 2009 season where he caught 100 passes.  He went to Tampa Bay this season and it has started to look up for him and the Bucs. 

I had a very cool/coincidental thing happen to me this past week.  I grew up in the Bay Area and watched a lot of 49ers games.  I decided to write to both Keith and Jim Fahnhorst.  They played together on the 49ers and I thought it would be cool to get their autographs.  The coincidental thing is that I got their returns on the same exact day.  Keith was a fixture on the offensive line from 1977 to 1986.  He won two Super Bowls.  His favorite memory was "The Catch".  He said it was great fun to play with his brother on the 49ers.  The toughest player for him to block was Jack Youngblood.  His favorite part of the game was "kill the clock".  It meant that they were won.  He answered my character question-honesty.  Jim was a backup linebacker for the 49ers and won 3 Super Bowls.  He had his best season in 1986 when he was given the opportunity to start and had 4 interceptions.  He was surprised to hear that the USA Today had named him as one of the Top 55 players since 1953 at the University of Minnesota.  I am sending a copy of the page to him.  His favorite memory was Dec 11, 1988 where he played great against the Saints to lock up the division.  He said that it was great just having my brother in the same locker room.  His favorite non football memory is watching his children grow up. 

Gene Mingo was the first African American placekicker.  He twice led the league in scoring.  With the Denver Broncos he ran the ball, caught passes, and kicked.  He also played for the Oakland Raiders which is the helmet photo that I had him sign.  He has written a book that is available on Amazon. 

Kirk Cousins is an excellent young quaterback that is in a tough position (in my opinion).  I really enjoyed watching him play at Michigan State.  I thought he was a very good quarterback and I was looking forward to seeing who would draft him.  I was SHOCKED that the Redskins drafted him in the fourth round.  I feel bad for him that he is basically going to be stuck on the bench and used as trade bait in a year or two.  That is a tough situation.  I hope it works out for him like it did for Matt Schaub.  I will be rooting for him.  He said his favorite Michigan State memory was the Hail Mary game against Wisconsin.  His goals for the NFL is to become a starter and win.  The person that has helped him the most is his dad.  He answered my character question with integrity. 

The next return was from Ron Powlus.  I think he is a guy that was put into a tough position and handled it very well.  He was proclaimed to be a multiple Heisman trophy winner by Beano Cook before he ever played a game at Notre Dame.  That is tough.  He got better every year at Notre Dame.  I was hoping that he would get a chance in the NFL but it never happened.  He has become a very good coach.  He is a coach at the University of Kansas.  He thanked me for my letter which always makes me feel good.  His favorite memory is beating undefeated #5 ranked USC at home in 1995. He said it was a great day for the Irish.  Hopefully tomorrow will be another great day for the Irish!  I asked if he had any regrets about attending Notre Dame and he said no.  The best part of coaching for him is helping young people develop into better people on and off the field.  The person that had the biggest impact on him was Rocky Balboa :)  Love that response!  He answered my character question with character, confidence, and conviction.  I like it.

The final return was from one of the greatest Patriot players of all time---Gino Cappelletti.  He was an amazing player.  He played wide receiver and kicker for the Pats.  He is on every All-time Patriots team that ever existed.  He was a five time Pro Bowler and AFL MVP.  He led the AFL in scoring 5 times and one season ranks as the 11th most points in NFL history.  Outside of a bias against AFL and kickers I have to wonder why he hasn't earned a place in the Hall of Fame.  He signed a Patriots helmet photo for me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pat Fitzgerald, Don Blackmon, Steve Nelson, Milt Plum, Perry Williams

I have had some great returns recently.  I received a signed photo from Pat Fitzgerald who is the great coach of the Northwestern Wildcats and one of the best players I have ever seen play for the Wildcats.  I loved him and the 95 team and really enjoy rooting for Northwestern now.  He was an awesome linebacker who won many awards.  I feel very lucky to have gotten his autograph.  He also answered my questions- he said the 95 season was the best time of his life as an athlete.  He never wonders what would have happened if he hadn't been hurt for the Rose Bowl.  He says the best part of coaching is player development.  He will soon be Northwestern's all time wins leader.  He said that character is defined as who you are when no one is watching. 

Another return was from Don Blackmon.  He was an excellent linebacker for the New England Patriots and was part of their 1985 Super Bowl team.  He was named to the Patriots All 80s team.  He tied the NFL record for safeties in a season.  He could sack the quarterback as well as a sure tackler.  He said his favorite memory is being a career Patriot.  He said being named to the All 80s team was an unbelievable honor.  He spent time as a coach and his favorite part was strategizing.  He signed a photo for me.

The next return was from another awesome linebacker for the New England Patriots--Steve Nelson.  He started pretty much every game he played in.  He was a three time Pro Bowler and had a nose for the football.  He was also a member of the Pats 85 Super Bowl team.  He has been named to multiple Patriots all time teams and has had his number retired.  Unfortunately he didn't sign my photo (or maybe I forgot to send it LOL) but he was generous to answer my questions.  He said his favorite memory was winning the AFC championship versus the Dolphins.  His favorite part of playing for the Pats was the fans.  The toughest player for him to tackle was Earl Campbell.  He said never giving up was his most important character trait.

Milt Plum was a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.  He performed well for both but his best years were probably with the Browns.  He had one of the best passer rating seasons EVER for a quarterback in 1960.  I mean ever ---in 1960 ---crazy.  He said the most important character trait was honesty.  He signed a Lions helmet photo for me. 

The final return was from Perry Williams, a cornerback for the New York Giants.  He played his entire career with the Giants and had 18 career interceptions with 4 seasons of 3 or more.  He was part of two Super Bowl winning teams.  His favorite memory was being drafted.  His second favorite memory was winning Super Bowl in 1986 with his third favorite memory is winning the Super Bowl over the Bills.  He signed a Giants helmet photo.

Photos to follow later.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jamie Williams, Tim Krumrie, Darnell Autry, Nick Anderson, Kendall Gill, Thomas Randolph

I received two returns this week.  The first was from Jamie Williams.  Dr. Williams was a tight end for the Oilers, 49ers, and Raiders.  He started his career with the Oilers.  He was a very good player for the Oilers and was used the most of his career as a pass receiver.  He went to the 49ers and won a Super Bowl.  He has the distinction of catching a touchdown pass from 3 Hall of Famers- Moon, Montana, and Young.  That has to be pretty awesome.  His favorite Oilers memory was his first conversation with Earl Campbell.  His favorite 49ers memory was walking out for the start of the Super Bowl.  Dr. Williams went to the San Francisco Academy of Art and created an intercollegiate program.  Now he is back at his alma mater-Nebraska.  I asked him what it was like to be back at Nebraska and he said every day is one of nostalgia.  He answered my character question- "in my opinion, my ideal character trait that I would consider most important is being a team player."

The second return is from Tim Krumrie.  He was an outstanding defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals.  He is best known for the leg injury he suffered in the Super Bowl versus the 49ers.  The amazing thing is that he was ready for the start of the next season and played for years with a rod in his leg.  He has been an excellent assistant coach after his retirement. 

I have sent off a request to Pat Fitzgerald and it made me harken back to the incredible 1995 Northwestern team.  I loved that team and what a story it was.  Northwestern, a long time dormat in the Big 10, goes to the Rose Bowl and ends the season in the top 10.  I loved watching Fitzgerald, Darnell Autry, and D'Wayne Bates.  I was lucky enough to get Darnell Autry a couple of years ago for my coffee table.  He was an excellent running back and finished high in the Heisman voting.

I recently watched the 30 for 30 special about the Chicago basketball player that was killed and one of my all time favorite players was in it--Nick Anderson.  I loved watching him starting with his time at the University of Illinois.  I still remember him hitting a turnaround half court jumper to beat Indiana in Bloomington.  I am a lifelong diehard UNC fan but there have been two teams that have broken into my all time favorites-the 1989 University of Illinois Fighting Illini (Anderson, Gill, Bardo, Battle, Hamilton, Liberty) and the 1990-91 UNLV Running Rebels (Johnson (of course), Augmon, Hunt, Anthony, Ackles, Butler, Scurry).  The 1989 Illini were awesome and if they had called the blatant push in the back that Sean Higgins did on Kenny Battle, the Illini would have won the title no doubt.  I have been lucky enough to get Anderson and Kendall Gill on boards and one day I hope to track down Kenny Battle.  He would be an awesome addition to my collection. 

I have enjoyed watching the success of the Kansas State Wildcats and I hope it continues.  It has made me remember the 1993 team that I enjoyed watching (Thomas Randolph, JJ Smith, Andre Coleman, Kevin Lockett, and Chad May).  I recently was able to get Thomas Randolph thanks to a member on  I am very thankful for that.  I want to get more players from that team (the 1st ever bowl victory for Kansas State) which is why I have just sent out a request to Andre Coleman.