Morgan, Stanley

Cards: ProSet 1989, Score Supplemental 1990
Acquired: TTM, C/o Home 2011
Sent: 10/15       Received: 3/7   (143 days)

The Patriots drafted late in the first round of the 1977 draft, but at #25 they were fortunate enough to get Stanley Morgan out of Tennessee. With good hands and alarming speed for the era (sub 4.3), Morgan holds the all purpose yardage records for the Volunteers with a bit over 4600 yards.

Stanley would average over 20 yards per reception his rookie season. A feat he’d repeat  for the next 5 seasons. In fact he’d average a whopping 24.1 ypc in 1978 on 34 receptions, and in 1981 when he’d have 23.4 ypc. From 1979-1981 Morgan would lead the NFL in yards per reception. He’d earn his first Pro Bowl nod in 1979, followed by nominations again in 1980, 86 and 87.  In 1987 Morgan would have a career high 1491 yards and 84 receptions, logging 9 100 yard games that season. While injuries would begin to pile up on Stanley over the next two seasons,  by the end of his career after 13 seasons with the Patriots in 1989, Morgan would hold the Patriots’ records for receiving yards (10,352), receiving average (19.4), receptions (534), and touchdown receptions (67).

Stanley’s speed was a strength but his greatest asset was his longevity, where he managed to play 14 seasons. Although his final few were on the downward slope, he still managed to contribute even in his final season with the Indianapolis Colts where he played a final season in 1990 quietly logging 23 receptions, 364 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Morgan is another one of these players who was way ahead of his time. Playing primarily in a rush first offense from the 1970s, you have to wonder if Morgan would have received more notice by the NFL HoF for his work, or how he would have fared in one of the pass happy offenses of the 90s. (At the time of his retirement Stanley was ranked 20th all time in receptions.) I think he’s one of these players that was at the upper echelon and quietly racked up great numbers but just played at the wrong time, only appearing once in a Super Bowl (XX)  and will never be noticed by the hall. While appearing in Tecmo Superbowl, Morgan’s abilities and speed would not be represented correctly in the game.

Since retirement Morgan has retired back to Tennessee where he resides in Memphis and participates in charity events helping impoverished African Americans go to college, plays a lot of golf and keeps up with the Patriots. He was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame as the 12th member in 2007, was named to the team’s All-time 1970s and 1980s team, and the Patriots 35th and 50th Anniversary teams.

I sent Morgan 3 cards in the mail back in October and had definitely given up on this one. I think it had just been a while since he checked his PO Box or maybe because it’s close to tax time because I noticed a lot of people around the web receiving autographs back from him about the same time. I was happy to get these back but disappointed he did not sign my Action Packed Rookies from 1990. Regardless you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth and these two action shots of him from the ProSet 1989 and Score Supplemental 1990 set were quite nice.

G/Gs  196/180     Rec  557        Yds   10716       Avg   19.2     Td  72     Lg  76t