Category Archives: Arena

Jean, Lestar ‘Star’

Cards: Sage 2011 Houston Rookies Dual Auto, Sage 2011
Acquired: 2017, EBay

Lestar Jean had an upwards ticking career while at Florida Atlantic. The wide receiver increased his production in every year while playing at the college. In 2010, his Senior season, Jean had 64 receptions for 988 yards and 8 touchdowns. He finished his 4 years at FAU with 146 receptions for 1992 yards and 15 TDs.  Considered still pretty raw, scouts loved his build, size, and his explosiveness. They felt he was a sneaky developmental prospect for the pro level. After not being drafted, he’d sign with the Houston Texans as a free agent.

He’d lose his entire rookie season to a shoulder injury, but after a strong preseason in 2012, he entered the season as the 4th wide receiver on the roster after an impressive preseason. During a 31-25 win over Denver, he’d make a 46 yard grab- displaying his big play potential. Although he tore his Meniscus on the catch he returned later in the season, rocking a 54 yard bomb for his first professional TD in a 24-10 shellacking of division rival Tennessee.  In the meantime he’d bide his time on special teams.

Things came apart for the Houston Texans in 2013. They’d go from rags to riches, both in record and quarterback play, as Matt Schaub and a bevvy of other quarterbacks struggled in his place.  Did Jean just not get the ball? Did coaches have enough of him hearing footsteps and dropping passes? Regardless, the Texans opted not to tender him after the season after only recording 4 receptions for 35 yards on the season.

Lestar would go on the free agent tour, trying out for the Dolphins and Panthers, eventually signing with the Vikings.  He’d be placed on IR and released with an injury settlement in 2014 before even taking the field for Minnesota.  Lestar rehabbed from injury and was part of the NFL’s first NFL Veteran Combine. Teams kicked the tires on Jean but did not sign him. He’d throw his hat in with the new MLFB (selected by Team Florida), but when a major investor backed out, the well intentioned league was left adrift.  He was later assigned to the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League in 2016 but did not take the field for the squad.

I remember when I played football, my coach came up to me on a few occasions after practice. He’d say to me, “I can’t tell what’s up with you. Some days you look like prime rib out there. Other days you look like a butt steak…” I feel like I found my pro equivalent in Lestar Jean.

Mathis, Jerome

Card: Playoff Contenders 2005
Acquired: 2017, C/o EBay

Jerome Mathis was a phenomenal track man while he was at Hampton.  He took it to the gridiron too, setting the NCAA record with a gaudy 26.6 career kick return average and 6 TDs. During the combine, Mathis created quite a buzz posting the second best 40 time in history at 4.26. Still he waited to hear his named called until the 4th round of the 2005 draft, because he was considered just a return man from a small school.

The Texans are a very patient team and felt they could wait for Mathis to mature as a receiver. His speed was proven and he could be used on kick and punt returns at least. Mathis took the league by storm his rookie year. He posted 54 kick returns for 1542 yards (28.6 yard average) and 2 touchdowns, including a 99 yarder.  His strong rookie campaign earned him Pro Bowl and special teams player of the year honors. During the Pro Bowl he fractured his foot, but it went undetected, forcing him to miss nearly the entire next season on IR.  He came back to the squad for 2007 but after 3 games lost his entire year to injured reserve. He still managed to post 11 returns for 320 yards and a 84 yard TD.

Mathis was in a contract year with the Texans in 2007, and as a restricted free agent in 2008 the Texans had first right of refusal or tender.  Late in 2007 he had a run in with the law- but whether or not that had anything to do with it, Houston cut him outright 9 days after being charged with a misdemeanor.  He signed with the Redskins but was cut a few months later.

In 2009 he joined the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and was on and off their roster for the season.  He spent 2010 briefly with the UFL Hartford Colonials, before playing one final glorious year in the Arena Football League for the Pittsburgh Power. There he set a variety of Power records, retiring after the 2011 season.

NFL  17    Rec 6     Yds 80    Avg 13.3   Td 1  Lg 34t
KR   72    Yds 2154   Avg  28.5    Td 3    Lg 99t
PR  12    Yds 68    Avg 5.7   Td 0   Lg 19

Arena   Rec  30    Yds  418    Avg    Td 7   Lg 46t
Ret  31   Yds 688    Avg    Td 1   Lg 49t

Dixon, James (2)


Cards: Score 1990, ProSet 1990, Topps 1990
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 8/21    Received: 9/12    (21 days)
See Also: James Dixon

James is notable as he helped rookie Troy Aikman break the NFL rookie passing record (at the time) with 203 yards receiving, including that 75 yard bomb.  He also set the club mark with his 1,181 kick off return yards, breaking the mark previously set by Mel Renfro back in 1964- all in his rookie season.  Still he’s fallen into relative obscurity over the years and lives comfortably in Texas.

James Dixon was quite lucky. He played on a terrible Cowboys squad, but stuck out enough to get noticed before he faded off into obscurity. It was enough that 4 major brands (Topps, ProSet, Score, and Action Packed) all put out cards of him. After returning to the hobby, I was surprised that he didn’t appear in any lists on websites or any fans were clamoring for his address, so after many years, I decided to go ahead and do some sleuthing and figure out where he was at. He did not disappoint, signing these 3 cards in under a month.