Lonnie Turner took a very unique route to the WLAF after playing for Cal Poly Pomona under Roman Gabriel: He played in the USFL from 1983 to 1985. During that period he played one season each for LA (3 catches for 41 yards), Oklahoma (27 receptions for 399 yards and 2 TDs), and Denver (29 receptions for 388 yards). After brief stops with the Cardinals and later the Atlanta Falcons, he’d join the Arena football league, and play for Pittsburgh in 1988. Boasting experience in the Run N Shoot offense, Lonnie signed with the Lions in 1990, but was unable to make the squad. This however got him back onto the radar of the WLAF, and the New York- New Jersey Knights who were coached by former Lions offensive coordinator Mouse Davis.
Lonnie was selected in the WLAF supplemental draft by the Knights. A long in the tooth veteran at 30 years old, Lonnie was one of the oldest players on the team. He paid dividends in 1991, leading NY-NJ with 41 receptions (5th in league) for 629 yards (7th) and caught his only touchdown of the season versus the Montreal Machine. In 1992, Lonnie caught 36 passes for 437 yards and 2 TDs- including a 50 yarder.
With the WLAF reorganizing after the 1992 season, Turner packed his bags for a quick stop with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL in 1993. He posted 27 receptions for 420 yards and 2 TDs, 11 kick returns for 196 yards, and 38 punts for 270 yards. – As a pro, this represented his most productive season- but this was his first and last foray into the CFL.
A few years passed, and Lonnie appears again in the Arena Football League. This time he picks up in 1996 with the Tampa Bay Storm, and along with that 43 receptions for 576 yards and 9 TDs. He’d join the Nashville Kats in 1997 and play there through 1998. With the Kats in 1997 he’d have another solid season (35 receptions, 485 yards, 9 TDs, 28 kick returns, 460 yards, and 1 TD), and then close out his career playing football with one final season in Nashville with 20 receptions for 193 yards and 3 TDs, and 16 kick returns for 251 yards.
I have been tracking Lonnie for some time. With his unique and interesting playing history, I figured that he’d at least be on Wikipedia, but his trail is mysteriously cold. Even USFL fans couldn’t tell me where he was at. It didn’t help that there are actually other Lonnie Turners out there in the world who played and coached football, but after a lot of perseverance, I was able to find him coaching in Los Angeles. He’s apparently spent a lot of time at the high school level and has now climbed into the college ranks.
Vinnie Clark was a member of The Ohio State University from 1988 to 1990. He impressed peers in 1990 when he posted 51 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 6interceptions for 51 yards- which led the Big 10 Conference. An athletic cornerback with sub 4.35 speed, Vinnie was the 19th player selected overall in 1991 by the Green Bay Packers.
Vinnie played for the Packers from 1991 to 1992. During his time with the Pack, he recorded 15 starts, 4 interceptions, and 68 combined tackles. He joined the Falcons in 1993, and then late in 1994 joined the New Orleans Saints. This turned out oddly to be his best season as a pro, as he had 5 interceptions for 149 yards, 2 forced fumbles, and 73 total tackles.
Clark was selected by the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. He’d start every game for the franchise, and record the first interception in the history of the franchise (albeit in the preseason). He’d finish 1995 with 1 interception and 66 tackles. He’d be released 4 games into 1996 and retire.
He’s done a lot of coaching since then, briefly popping up in the Arena league coaching for the Columbus Destroyers. Vinnie is doing well currently as of this post, and is coaching High School Football in Ohio.
Well an obvious set need with the Action Packed 1991 Rookies card, but the GameDay 1992 and the Star Pics cards also found a home close to my heart. Vinnie had a lot of cards to choose from, and these really stood out to me. The Star Pics one just had this garish 1990s feel to it with the montage of footballs in the background/ His uniform with the oversized pads and numbers felt encompassing of the era. Vinnie’s GameDay card is an outstanding action entry. I really like how his whole body is squashed down into the canvas area and compliments the design quite nicely.
I saw a lot of successes for Vinnie fly by while I waited patiently for these cards to return. I had given up on them after a year or so, but Clark must have finally reached the bottom of his mail bag with my cards down there and decided to sign them after a scant 810 days.
Mike Pawlawski has enjoyed nothing but one of the more curious professional football careers. It all started back in 1992 when the highly decorated signal caller from Cal was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 8th round. He spent one year with the team and the next two out of football.
Mike reignited his football career when he joined the Arena Football League. First with the SabreCats, and then later with the Miami Hooters in 1995. (- Yes named after the Hooters restaurant franchise.) He played one season with the team (66/133, 674 yards, and 6 TDs) in primarily relief duty. He also spent time in the CFL with their USA invasion as a member of the Shreveport Pirates. Mike jumped to the Albany Firebirds the following year- and really impressed (22/35, 296 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT) in limited play. It’d be in 1997 that Pawlawski came into his own as a starter. He’d throw for 4,272 yards and 69 TDs on 509 attempts. For the next 3 seasons he’d be the unquestioned starter of the Firebirds and threw for at least 70 touchdowns in each year.
He heard the siren call of the XFL in 2001 and joined the fledgling league and be the starting quarterback for the San Fransisco Demons. In the lone season for the league Pawlawski finished second to only Tommy Maddox in passing, while leading the team to the Million Dollar Game. With the XFL hemorrhaging money and with bad TV ratings, the league shut down after the lone season.
Mike retired due to injuries and followed his passions for the outdoors, working on the show Gridiron Outdoors. He also does color commentating for Cal games for a variety of networks.
Mike was kind enough to sign these three cards in about a month’s time, however I wish he actually had a sharpie handy as his autograph gets lost on these canvases.
ARENA ATT 2045 CPD 1351 YDS 16673
TD 303 INT 45 RAT 118.98
R 93 YDS 181 TD 19
XFL ATT 297 CPD 186 YDS 1659 TD 12 INT 4
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.