Trumpy, Bob

Cards: Topps 1970, Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent:  1/2/2018        Received: 3/8/2018   (60 days)

A Cincinnati legend, Bob Trumpy is a great example of the early AFL/ NFL reaching for a player whose primary sport was basketball. A surprise 12th round pick of the expansion Cincinnati Bengals in 1968, Trumpy didn’t have that much in the way of stats.  He played for Illinois in 1964 as a wide receiver. – There he had 28 receptions for 428 yards and 2 TDs, and then later In 1966 he played one additional year at Utah catching 9 passes for 159 yards and 2 TDs.

Trumpy had 2 things really going for him from the get go. First, he was an imposing specimen at 6’6″, 230, and secondly, the Bengals expansion franchise was pretty well stocked with veterans, so everyday Bob had to go out there and impress people.  Bob played 10 seasons for the Bengals putting together solid numbers during the ‘dead ball’ era of football. He’d earn 4 Pro Bowl nominations (1968, 1969, 1970, and 1973), and one All Pro nod in 1969- his best season as a pro when he had 37 receptions for 835 yards and 9 touchdowns, including an 80 yard strike. He’d retire after the 1977 season, but find his calling quickly in broadcasting.

Cincinnati loved Trumpy- so much so that he became a mainstay radio personality. Later Bob moved onto the national stage as a network color man. That’s where I became familiar with ol’ Trumpy. He did great color work during the ’80s for the then AFC Central on NBC Sports. Frequently Bob would call a play before it’d happen, or mention that some player hasn’t caught a pass in 6 games and is over due, and then all of a sudden the quarterback would throw a completion towards that overlooked player. He really was a marvel to listen to, and was especially in his element when paired up with Don Criqui or Dick Enberg.

A few months ago, I happened to catch an old rebroadcast of the infamous 1988 Wild Card Playoff slugout between the Cleveland Browns and Houston Oilers. The aforementioned team was assigned announcing and color duties and the game would end up going down in infamy. As the antics of Jerry Glanville went into overdrive, this game proved to be the final game of the Schottenheimer Era in Cleveland. It was an amazing game full of heroes, villains, and a pulse pounding finale. To this day, I still remember the game and consider it an epitome of a sports classic from the old rough and tumble of the AFC Central.

He continued in broadcasting for many years and in 2014 was awarded the Pete Rozelle Radio- Television award for outstanding longtime contributions to TV in radio in the realm of professional football, by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

G/Gs 128/121        Rec 298      Yds 4600      Avg 15.4       TD 35    Lg 80T

Towles, Patrick

Card: Sage 2017
Acquired: 2017, Box Breaker

Patrick Towles played at Boston College where in his final season of eligibility for the Golden Eagles, he threw for 1730 yards, 12 TDs and 7 interceptions.  He had previously played for the Kentucky Wildcats, but lost his job and opted to transfer.  Over his time at Kentucky, Towles threw for 5,099 yards, 29 touchdowns, 19 interceptions on 759 attempts.  After not being selected in the 2017 NFL draft, the Texans decided to take a stab at Patrick.

Impressed by what the 6-5, 245 pound QB offered with his strong arm, Houston invited Towles to rookie mini-camp. He served pretty much as a camp arm and did not make the cut. Patrick also saw a brief stop with the Bengals who tried him out at tight end.

I think he’d make a good fit for the New XFL or AAF- (he was one of the top undrafted free agent quarterbacks from the 2017 draft,) however as of the time of this post, Patrick is a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic Students.

Johnson, Kevin (CB)

Card: Topps Valor 2015 (572/900)
Acquired: 2017, Ebay

Kevin Johnson played corner for the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest.  He played in 2010 and then 2012-2014. He posted 189 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss, .5 sack, 20 passes defended, and 7 interceptions for 49 yards. At 6’1″, 175 Johnson fit the mold of what many teams look for in a man to man corner, despite his lean frame.  He zoomed up draft boards with his outstanding combine numbers, leading his position in vertical jump (41.5 inches), broad jump (130 inches), 3 cone drill (6.79 seconds), and the 20 yard shuttle (3.89 seconds). While his 40 was an average 4.52 seconds, scouts coveted his feet and versatility in coverage.

Johnson went 16th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Texans were rumored to be after runningback Melvin Gordon, but with him going off the board a pick before to the San Diego Chargers, Houston decided that they needed to reload at corner- a position of constant need since the Texans play so many nickel formations.

Color me unimpressed… With the Texans deep at defensive back at the time with Andre Hal, Darryl Morris, and AJ Bouye (looking sorta sloppy that year), behind starters Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, I though that this was a ‘pants down’ sort of pick. I even was interviewed by the local media in Houston after the pick was made and told them that while I had been impressed by the first round pedigree the Texans had produced in the past, I just wasn’t excited about this pick.  In general I wasn’t really excited with anything on the board after Gordon was snapped up, and hoped the Texans would trade down in order to nab more picks.

So far it’s been a mixed bag with Johnson. His rookie year provided solid results: 10 starts, 54 combined tackles, 9 passes defended, and his first career interception (from Zach Mettenberger). All signs pointed to up, but since then its been an injury plagued run. In the off-season he had a fractured foot and a broken wrist surgically repaired. Then he saw action in only 6 games during 2016, (starting 3) making 25 tackles and 3 passes defended, before breaking his foot against the Colts in Week 6.  (This allowed AJ Bouye to really step up and hone his craft as a shutdown defensive back in a  contract year with the Texans.) During a week 2 contest in 2017, Kevin suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain against the Bengals, knocking him out an additional 4-6 weeks. Then later in week 11, Johnson suffered a concussion against the Cardinals.

I felt as though in 2017, that Johnson’s skills had regressed. Teams relentlessly picked on the former #1 when he was on the field. He finished with 44 tackles and 2 passes defended in 11 games (4 starts).  As we progress into the 2018 season, the jury is still out on Kevin’s lofty draft selection.

This is a great looking card. I really like the production of Topps Valor to give the image that extra punch. I was able to get this autograph on the cheap- like 3 bucks or less, so I figured why not and picked this one up.

Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.