All posts by Lee Bolton

Westbrook, Bryant

Cards:  University of Texas Upper Deck 2011, UT UD 2011 All-Time Alumni, Press Pass 1997
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Work
Sent:  11/14  Received: 11/26  (12 days)

A feared and hard hitting cornerback with sizzling speed who played at the University of Texas from 1993-1996, Bryant Westbrook is one of the more lauded members of DBU. He earned SWC Honors second-team All-American his senior year, in addition to first-team selections in both the last year of the Southwest Conference, and the first year of the Big 12. He finished his career at UT with 9 interceptions, 30 passed defensed, 6 forced fumbles, 183 tackles, and 2 blocked kicks.

With the hype train in full swing Westbrook’s draft stock spiked up the charts. He was selected with the 6th pick overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1997 NFL Draft, as the second DB off the board.

Bryant had a pretty solid rookie year. He deflected 20 passes- as QBs tested him early and often in his career. Nonetheless he intercepted his first pass from Dan Marino and returned it 62 yards for a TD that year. Bryant landed on the All-Rookie Team at the conclusion of the season.
During 1998, he posted another 19 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, and an 34 yard pick six of Trent Dilfer (TB).  Westbrook suffered a bumpy 1999 as the nicks and tears piled up. He’d be shelved after 8 contests.

Westbrook returned with a vengeance, as he posted his best season as a pro in 2000. Named as a Pro Bowl alternate, he started 13 games and recorded 6 interceptions for 126 yards including a door-blowing 101 yard pick off and score courtesy of Drew Bledsoe of the Patriots.
Disappointingly he’d miss the last 3 games of the season due to a ruptured Achillies.

It was tough for Bryant, because the next season was a contract year, so he had to get back to the game.  He managed to play in 9 contests in 2001 and recorded an interception, but due to his injury, it was obvious that he had lost a step.

Bryant signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002.  He’d start the opening contest against the Houston Texans, but the Texans had studied the film and knew that Bryant was a liability. He’d be picked on consistently when he was in the lineup in the Texans’ upset 19-10 victory.  The Cowboys quickly cut him and Westbrook joined the Green Bay Packers and made a pick before the end of the season.  The team hoped to convert him to safety in 2003, but he ruptured his other Achillies- effectively bringing his career to an end.

No regrets for Westbrook however, as he’s giving back to the game by coaching (as of 2017) High School football in Arizona. He signed these 4 cards in no time flat for me.

Come on Upper Deck. You could of done better. The 2011 base card is terrible. Rule number one of something you are going to create in a graphics program for production- never ever noticeably stretch an image. I mean the top of Bryant’s helmet makes him look like he’s got a modified Gazoo on. His All-Time Alumni and NCAA All American cards are the same picture. Really? I looked no further than the Press Pass 97 below it to find a differing action shot of Westbrook. The Press Pass card is a bit kitsch, but I do like the die cut action on it.  In the end I liked Westbrook’s larger than life autograph on his Upper Deck All Time Alumni card the best.

G/GS  71/55      TAC  197      SAC 0      FUM 1
INT  13       YDS 239       AVG 18.3      TD 3       LG 101T

Jones, Cyrus

Card: Panini Contenders 2016
Acquired: 2016, Box Breaker

Cyrus Jones was an intriguing prospect coming out of Alabama in 2016.  A decorated punt return and cover man, Jones was a bit undersized for the pro level, but the Patriots liked what they saw and selected Jones in the second round of the 2016 draft. It was a rough debut to say the least for Cyrus, but give Bill Belichick and his staff credit for not giving up on him.

Cyrus finished with 7 tackles on defense, as he contributed mainly on special teams. There he had 11 punt returns for 46 yards, and 8 kick offs for 180. While his bottom line wasn’t horrible for a rookie, it’s the fact that he fumbled 5 times (recovering 2) that really got him in trouble.  It was difficult for Cyrus. Even though the Patriots won the Super Bowl with him, he didn’t really feel a part of it, because of his performance that ended with him on the bench.

Cyrus wanted to become a better player and opted to spend his offseason training for 2017.  Things were looking up for the young speedster, until he suffered a torn ACL in training camp, ending his season before it began.

Barnes, Lew ‘Little Lew’

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1992, Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 8/9   Received: 9/9  (30 days)

Lew Barnes was an Oregon Duck during his college days from 1983 to 1985. A consistent receiver with blazing speed, Barnes posted 117 receptions for 2048 yards, a 17.5 yards per reception average, and 18 TDs over his time in Eugene. Lew is notable, as he was the only Oregon All-American named on offense between 1971 and 2007.  At the time of his graduation Barnes was the Ducks all-time leading receiver.  He was drafted in the 5th round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

The Bears, well, they were hard on their receivers and the Super Bowl Champions were through and through a running team. Lew faced an uphill battle making the squad, but was fortunate. As starting return man Dennis McKinnon underwent his 3rd knee operation- the Bears needed a punt return man and it just so happened that Barnes fit the bill. Lewis made the best of his single season in Chicago. He led the league with 57 punt returns (482 yards), and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a TD.  Barnes broke his left leg during the preseason in 1987 and spent the entire year on IR. The following year in 1988, he got cut during the preseason- only a few days after a 97 yard kickoff return TD got called back over a questionable illegal block against the Cowboys. While the Bears really liked Barnes, he got caught in a numbers game, especially with rookie wide receiver 1st round pick Wendell Davis in camp.

Barnes quickly landed a job with the Falcons, reuniting him with former Duck QB Chris Miller. He’d play in 13 games, and post solid numbers again on punt returns, with 34 for 307 yards, including a 68 yarder, but not see any time at receiver.  He’d then play 2 games in 1989 with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Lew decided to play for the WLAF in 1992.  He’d be selected by the Frankfurt Galaxy.  During his lone season with the franchise, Lew led the team in yards from scrimmage. He’d be 3rd in receptions with 24, but second in yards with 402 and a guady 16.7 YPC. Lew also was counted on for special teams duty, posting 198 yards on 10 kick returns, and 46 yards on 11 punt returns. He’d help the franchise win the division and reach the playoffs for the first time in history, before the league went on hiatus.

Lew had two spectacular action shots from Ultimate and Wild Card. Being that the Galaxy did not play ever in San Antonio, I never was even able to attempt to get any members of the franchise. With his place in Oregon and NFL history, I thought Lew would be easier to locate, but nobody had a whiff of him at all. It took me quite a few years, but after cross referencing a lot of data on Spokeo, I was able to find an address I was confident in and take a shot. He responded and wrote me a very nice note. With excellent cursive penmanship, he thanked me for writing him, and told me that he too had a great-great relative in his past that had my full name, and we could possibly be… related? Small world!

NFL 16/0     REC 4           YDS 54      AVG 13.5     TD 0    LG 14
KR   9       YDS 236        AVG 26.2      TD 1      LG 85t
PR 93      YDS 830        AVG 8.9         TD 0      LG 68

WLAF  REC 24   YDS  402  AVG 16.7    TD 3    LG 86t
KR  10     YDS   198       AVG 19.8      TD 0     LG 33
PR  11     YDS  46           AVG 4.1          TD 0    LG 12