Michael Jackson went to Southern Mississippi where he was the primary benefactor of future NFL great Brett Farve‘s throws. They would both be drafted in 1991 and while Farve would go to Atlanta, Jackson would have to wait to be drafted near the top of the 6th round by the Cleveland Browns. A speed merchant and track star since high school, Jackson would establish himself as a long bomb threat for the Browns and also wear the #1 jersey, further endearing him to the fans as a superstar for his unique choice of jersey for a wide receiver. (Of course, his name happened to be the same as a little known pop star named Michael Jackson). Michael would grab 17 receptions his rookie season while adding his first two touchdowns to his resume. 1992 would see Jackson become an incumbent at receiver where he’d make 755 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns. In 1993, he’d almost duplicate these statistics, changed his number to 81, (due to uniform number requirements,) and briefly changed his name back to Michael Dyson. An injury shortened 1994 would clear Jackson’s return for 1995 where he made 714 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns.
The Browns in 1996 enraged the city of Cleveland by moving to Baltimore in the middle of the night. While the team had a very bad season, Jackson became quarterback Vinny Testaverde‘s favorite target, with a career high 1201 yards on 76 receptions and a league high 14 touchdowns receiving. With another 900 yards in the book after 1997, Jackson saw his 1998 shorted by injury and only have 477 yards. He’d retire after the season due to injuries, and move back to Louisiana, where served briefly as mayor of his hometown. Certainly Jackson was the find of the 6th round of the 1991 draft and if he hadn’t have had his career ended prematurely due to injury, he would have been a steal.
At first glance when I got Michael’s autograph through the mail, I was a bit upset because the initial thing I saw was the giant slash going across the card. I thought he had just marked through the card. To my relief it was part of his very unique signature. (As with many other players, I have begun to give players the duplicate cards that I have floating around in my collection to thank them for their time.) Another group of really nice cards here. I even considered adding in his Score Supplemental 1991 but thought that would be a bit over the top. ProSet was technically beaten to the punch by Hi-Pro Marketing, who released a rookie card of Michael Jackson in their Action Packed Rookies series a few months before anybody else. (Ironically they also had the first Brett Favre card on the market too.) I very much liked all three of these designs, -in particular the GameDay card stands out with its very unique squared shoulders pose of Michael, who looks like a quarterback in this image. ProSet once again delivered very solid photography on their card with an exciting action shot of Jackson sprinting down the field, while Action Packed (as noted above) provided us his first true rookie card on its embossed surface with a nice clean view of Jackson looking for the ball.
G/Gs 114/92 Rec 353 Yds 5393 Avg 15.3 Td 46 Lg 86t
*UPDATE* 5/12/17- Michael Jackson’s motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed around 1 a.m. Friday when it crashed into a car that was backing out of a parking space and into both lanes of the highway. Both he and the driver of the car were killed.