Cards: Score Supplemental 1990
Acquired: In Person, Houston Oilers Training Camp 1990
See Also: Gerald McNeil (2)
After setting a variety of receiving records at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Gerald McNeil went undrafted out of college because he checked in at a tiny 5″7′, 145. Undaunted Gerald was picked up by the NFL’s fledgling competition, the United States Football League, where he played for the Houston Gamblers in 1984-1985 as one of offensive coordinator Mouse Davis‘ Mouseketeers. In the run and shoot offense (with Jim Kelly as his quarterback) Gerald snagged 58 receptions for 1017 yards, a 17.6 average and 6 touchdowns. He’d be named to the USFL’s All Star Team as a punt returner by the Sporting News.
After the USFL disbanded, McNeil was drafted in the NFL’s supplemental draft by the Cleveland Browns. Electrifying fans with his speed, McNeil was nicknamed ‘Ice Cube’ due to his tiny stature and incredible elusiveness. In 1986, during his first season with the Browns, McNeil returned both a punt (84 yards) and a kickoff (100 yards) for a touchdown. Gerald was primarily used as a return specialist during his career and earned a Pro Bowl nomination for his electrifying play in 1987. After finishing first in punt returns with 49 in 1989, Gerald was signed via Free Agency by the Houston Oilers in 1990. They hoped that he would duplicate his performance in the USFL and spell one of the Fab Four when they needed a sub, plus Bud Adams always enjoyed taking swipes and divisional competition. Gerald continued to be the primary punt and kick returner and get some spot playing time in his final season, retiring as a Houston Oiler after the 1990 season.
I got Gerald’s autograph at training camp that season while he was on the Oilers. Yes he was small- and a really nice guy. He had not seen his Score 1990 Supplemental card before and asked me if I had an extra. (It was the first time a player had put me on the spot like that.) Flabbergasted I told him I’d send him one. Back in those days though without the internet, it was hard to track down singles. I was able to get the card, but he retired before I was able to get it to him.
Games 76 Ret 91 Yds 1852 Avg 20.4 Lg 100T Td 1 | Pr 191 Yds 1717 Avg 9.0 Td 1 Lg 84T