Reilly, Trevor

Card: Leaf Draft 2014
Acquired: 2018, Walmart Autographed Memorabilia

Trevor Reilly played both on the defensive line and at linebacker while in college at Utah. Over his 4 years there he played in 48 games, posting 235 total tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks, 5 pass deflections, 2 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries. Reilly waited a long time to hear his name called but eventually during the 7th round of the 2014 Draft, the New York Jets called his name.

He spent two seasons with the Jets (2014 and 2015) where he suited up for 29 games. During that time he had 19 total tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. He’d be released in 2016 and found his way onto the Patriots practice squad. A few months later, Trevor was signed to the active squad of the Dolphins, where he finished out the year. He’d be placed on the team’s practice squad in 2017, but be released early into the season. The Patriots resigned Reilly needing depth at the position. Currently he is a free agent.

Outside of that, Trevor is known for two things in the NFL. First he’s completely fluent in Swedish- something he picked up during his missionary time while there in the country. Second, during a game against the Broncos, Reilly accidentally knocked out referee Jeff Rice.

Hanburger, Chris ‘The Hangman’

Card: Topps 1970
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 7/9 Received: 7/19      (10 days)

Chris Hanburger thought the door had closed on his attempts to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame- so he was pleasantly surprised to get the nod as a Seniors candidate in 2011. It’s a great story really. Chris has been so good to the TTM community and fans for years, so it was long overdue that the Redskins linebacker received the honor after his accolade laden career concluded. 

I mean, who knows if much was expected from the little known 18th round selection out of North Carolina in 1965. Regardless, Chris put together a remarkable 14 year career with 9 Pro Bowl nominations (1966-1969, 1972-1976) and All-Pro Honors (69, 72, 73, and 75) setting the standard for professional play at outside linebacker, durability (135 straight games started), and as a member of the Redskins’ Over the Hill Gang.

I had been wanting to get Chris’ autograph for a while, but had to find the perfect card to get signed. I had no clue that he had a Topps 1970- but considering that he was playing during that period, I should have assumed that there was this great golden era card. It was nice of him to personalize and put an inscription to the card- but it’s too bad that the inscription was slightly smudged.

G/GSTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDLG
187/177N/AN/A171934718.3245

Mercilus, Whitney ‘Merciless’

Card: Leaf Young Stars 2012
Acquired: 2015, EBay

The Houston Texans selected Whitney Mercilus out of Illinois in 2012 with the 26th pick, as the team needed him to step in and replace the recently departed Mario Williams in the sacks department. A late bloomer, Whitney earned multiple awards in his breakout college season of 2011, before declaring for the NFL Draft. That season at defensive end he led the nation with 16 sacks, and a hefty 9 forced fumbles.

It was not a bad rookie campaign for Whitney. He started 4 games and recorded 6 sacks, 18 total tackles, while forcing 2 fumbles, honing his skills under legendary defensive coordinator Wade Philips. It wasn’t really until 2015 that Whitney truly had his breakout campaign for the Texans. Shifted back and forth from defensive end to linebacker, Whitney had 12 sacks, 50 total tackles, and 2 fumble recoveries, nabbing second team All-Pro Honors. While he had a respectable follow up in 2016, with 7.5 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, and 53 total tackles- to go along with the league’s best defense, Whitney’s 2017 campaign was a complete wash as he blew out his pectoral game during the 5th game of the season landing him on IR- He’d finish the campaign with 10 combined tackles and 1 sack. Mercilus returned for the 2018 season and posted 39 tackles, 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

After striking out on Whitney at my last great marathon Houston run, due in part to it being held at a Palais Royale location, I just opted to pick up this Leaf card of him instead. I had not been counting on an event with Whitney that day, but after receiving a tip at the stadium after getting Charles James, Lance and I decided to take a shot. We arrived and stood outside. I exchanged pleasantries with one of the hosts outside for the Texans. She dryly informed me that the event was a Battle Red Ladies event only and wasn’t for outside fans. I then watched Whitney drive up in his Porche and park then go inside. I was upset, but that’s the rules. Later that evening I saw on the news another fan who was in line with me earlier in the day. Notably it was a guy- so he shouldn’t have been able to get an autograph either but maybe his mom was there.  I’m still in pursuit of Whitney on a few cards. I have begun to refer to him as one of my ‘white whales’- that being a player that I seem to have trouble getting that I really want.

This is a nice entry from Leaf. The photography and the shot are pretty nice, and the autograph is definitely showcased on the canvas. Not a fan of the logo placement, dead short of center, but it’s all a pretty simple, clean, set up. Whitney must have learned his lesson from signing these cards. You can see that over time his autograph just seems to get weaker and weaker from signing so many stickers. It’s common now to see that he short signs his autograph with WM#59.

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