Card: Ultimate WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home
Sent: 4/14 Received: 4/22 (8 days)
Failure: 4/27/2010 TTM 2010, C/o University of Milwaukee (2 cards)
George Koonce went undrafted out of college from the University of East Carolina in 1992 after an amazing career at the Junior College level. He would sign with Jerry Glanville‘s Falcons, but be waived during the preseason.
Undeterred Koonce would be drafted by the Ohio Glory of the World League of American Football in 1992 and start at linebacker making 2.5 sacks for the team during the season. Afterwards Koonce would immediately sign with the Green Bay Packers where he’d play all 3 positions at linebacker in the team’s 4-3 alignment over the next 8 seasons. Although injured for the team’s Super Bowl appearance, Koonce was a solid pickup by the Packers and was competent in coverage, making a career high 3 interceptions for 84 yards and a touchdown in 1996. After the 1999 season, Koonce would sign with the Seattle Seahawks in 2000, where he made 1 pick for 27 yards and a touchdown to cap off his career. At the conclusion of George’s NFL career he managed to rack up 720 tackles, 9 sacks, 5 picks, and 2 TDs in 118 starts. Pretty darn good for a World League of American Football player!
Since retirement George has been inducted into the ECU Pirates Hall of Fame and earned his master’s degree in Sports Management. He also has a foundation for underprivileged children and has served in the front office of the Packers, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
I had previously attempted to contact him for his autograph through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee but he had already left the college and it is assumed that those cards are lost. I saw that he had signed a few cards recently through the mail and through Sportscollectors.net so I gave his home address a shot. He responded in 8 days.
Koonce is a WLAF success story, (much like Tracey Simien, Doug Pedersen or Chris Mohr,) George was one of the original players who had a long and tenured career in the NFL that directly benefited from his involvement with the World League. This Ultimate 1992 card is technically (for all points and purposes) his rookie card and his card photo was taken at the Riders/ Glory preseason game in 1992. Not one of my favorite cards. I mean couldn’t they have gotten him in a 2 point stance or cropped this photo differently.
Below are his WLAF statistics:
G/Gs N/a Tac N/a Sac 2.5 Fum 0 Int 0 Yds 0 Avg -.- Td 0 Lg -.-