All posts by Lee Bolton

McAllister, Bobby

Card: Pro Set WLAF 1991
Acquired: In Person, 1992.  San Antonio Riders v Orlando Thunder.

Bobby McAllister is considered a hero at Michigan State from their glory days of the 1980’s, leading the team from 1987-1989. It was a team stocked with talent in Lorenzo White, Andre Rison, Willie Bouyer and the ‘Gang Green’ defense.    Bobby was not drafted after his senior season, and ended up on the Roughriders roster in 1989, playing briefly for the Argonauts later that year, finally landing on the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks roster in 1991. A scrambler by nature, he was extremely effective on the bootleg. Bobby would come off the bench that year and give the team a much needed boost playing admirably in two games, but the Skyhawks were folded after the 1991 season finishing a woeful 0-11.  McAllister would be picked up by ‘Team Dallas’, where he’d play on the league’s ‘taxi squad’. (Team Dallas functioned as a training ground for players so that they could quickly assimilate league and playbook terminology, keep players in peak shape, and quickly get out standardized game film of practices. They played no games that were tracked by the league.)   McAllister would eventually be signed by the San Antonio Riders late in the 1992 season, where he served as the number 3 quarterback behind Mike Johnson and Brad Goebel.
bobby and me

After the game against the Thunder, I caught Bobby coming out of the locker room and asked for his autograph. He was very excited because he had never seen his card before. He studied it intensely and autographed it with a big smile and offered to take a photo with me. We talked for a few minutes, and I told him if I ever got another card I’d give it to him. Unfortunately the league would fold before I could, as the Riders only played one more home game that season. After football Bobby has become a folk hero to Michigan State fans for his Rose Bowl heroics, and ardently supports the team to this day appearing in 2008 at the 20 year reunion to celebrate that fabled game. -By the way Bobby, I have that extra card for you now.

 

Games n/a      Att 195       Comp 91      Pct 46.7     Yds 1152        Td 7          Int 11           Rat 54

Dunbar, Karl

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1991, Wild Card WLAF 1992.
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o  The Minnesota Vikings
Sent: 6/11  Received: 6/18   (7 days)

After playing at LSU (Karmichael) ‘Karl’ was drafted by the Steelers in 1990 and then played for the Orlando Thunder of the WLAF in 1992 finishing tied for first on the team with 5.5 sacks. (He appeared in World Bowl II.) After the league reorganized, Karl became a journeyman, playing for the Saints for one year then jumping to the Cardinals for the next two retiring at the end of 1995 after playing for the Rhein Fire of the NFLE. With an insatiable love for the game, coaching had gotten in Karl’s blood, and he began to start working his way up the ranks starting from the high school level soon after. In 1998 he started coaching in college and in 2004 he was back in the pros working for the Bears. As of 2010 he’s in his 5th season as defensive line coach of the Minnesota Vikings.  He is attributed with the success and emergence of the ‘Williams Wall’ and is considered to be a master technician. His name has been thrown around recently for head coaching jobs in college as well.

Karl is an interesting and engaging alumni. (Karl has vitiligo, a skin pigmentation discoloration that affects about 1 percent of the population and is decorated with fraternity tattoos on his arms and elbows.) In between his time as a player in 1991, he put his degree to work as an undercover police officer helping make drug stings and was nicknamed ‘the battering ram’. At the World Bowl II media event day, Karl actually sought out media to answer questions for, even stating to one intrepid reporter, “Why haven’t you asked me a question yet?”

Another former WLAFer, I was witness to the Thunder’s victory over the San Antonio Riders that season in 1992. The Riders kept it close till the 3rd quarter but then got blown out late. (Because there was only 3 divisions in the WLAF, the Riders who were really the 3rd best team in the league, didn’t make the playoffs that year, despite being 7-3.) I never got the cards for Karl until recently and sent them out with the photo memorabilia of the game for him. He responded in about a week, I’m sure feeling quite good about himself because his defensive linemen probably get all the autograph requests.

(Thunder)  Games 10      Tac   N/a          Sac 5.5       FF  N/a    Int 0    Yds 0     Avg -.-       TD 0

Morris, Mercury

Cards: Topps 1977, SP Signature Edition 2005
Acquired: TTM 2010, c/o Home.
Sent:  4/28     Received:  7/9   (72 days)

Before I begin, I’d like to express my outrage towards the NFL and solidarity with former players in their attempts at trying to get medical assistance and their ‘fair share’ of the retirement pie. Case in point:

Mercury Morris was another AFLer that I sent away for after watching “Full Color Football” on the NFL Network.  Morris was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 3rd round of the 1969 draft, playing in the final year of the AFL before the merger.   Initially Morris found himself playing as a backup running back and special teams returner to Jim Kiick with gradually increasing playing time. (He started 39 games over his career.) In 1973, Mercury combined with Larry Csonka to form the first 1,000 yard duo, playing with two broken vertebra for a good portion of the season. (Mercury was not informed of the break when it happened, rather he was told that the injury was a ‘sprain’ after the game by team doctors.) Morris would play through 1976, where he was traded to the Chargers and then retired shortly thereafter due to the lingering neck injury from 1973. Eugene “Mercury” Morris was aptly named, based on his mercurial quickness, and later proven by the fact that he stands 1st amongst halfbacks on average yards per carry at 5.1 (with at least 750 attempts) and his kick return average of 26.5 stands in the NFL top ten.  He is also a member of the NFL’s only completely perfect team, (the 17-0 1972 Dolphins) and was a 3 time ProBowl selection from 1971-1973.

Since retirement Morris has been involved in television, public speaking, commercials, and wrote a book about his life entitled “Against the Grain” (1988). An outspoken advocate for improving player benefits, Mercury has continued to battle with the NFL to acknowledge and compensate him and his former gladiator brethren for their increasing medical expenses caused by their playing days.  (Mercury has suffered from lingering and debilitating headaches from his fused spine and deadened nerves.) Morris has pressed on with multiple legal actions against the league (for the money he is entitled to) and the Groom Law Group, which supervises the NFL pension plan. He has chronicled his latest attempts at getting answers through former defensive lineman Dave Pear’s blog at: www.davepear.com/blog .

G  99       Att  804           Yds   4133           Avg  5.1           TD 31          LG 70
KR  111          Yds  2947          Avg  26.5             TD  3            LG 105