Cards: Star Pics 1991, Action Packed Rookies 1991 Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home Sent: 7/3 Received: 11/25 (145 days)
Darren Lewis was a star tailback for the Texas A&M Aggies. In 1988 he set the school mark with 1692 yards on 306 carries (7 TDs), and then in 1990 miss breaking that mark by just 1 yard. Darren’s 1691 yards and 18 TDs were enough though to help earn him the SWC Player of the Year Honor. He’d cumulatively break the 5k barrier, (5,012 yards) which ranked 5th all time collegiality. Darren also set the school mark for most career TDs with 45. All in all Lewis set 25 school records at A&M.
It’s hard to say how Darren’s career would have ended up if things played out differently, and it’s hard to avoid the elephant in the room when thinking about his career in retrospect- as it was marred by drugs. When I try to write about players, I try to avoid talking about their personal problems, but in this case, it completely derailed Lewis’ future career and earnings. There is no way to avoid it.
-Expected to go early in the 1991 draft, his stock plummeted after he tested positive for cocaine at the combine.
Darren’s stock slid precipitously until he was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 6th round of the NFL Draft. To make matters worse- Bears executives admitted that they thought it was somebody else who they thought tested positive for drugs, and in a last second backpedal, considered not even inviting Darren to minicamp- even though Lewis was already checked into drug rehab.
Darren saw sparing action in 1991 running for just 36 yards behind Neal Anderson. 1992 proved to be the high-water mark in Darren’s NFL career, starting the last 4 games of the season, averaging 22.2 yards on 23 kickoffs, and rushing 90 times for 382 yards and 4 TDs. He also added 18 receptions for 175 yards as well for a grand total of 557 yards from scrimmage.
After a frustratingly slow start to Darren’s 1993 season under new head coach Dave Wannstedt, Darren was arrested for domestic dispute. The team had enough, and after 33 NFL games, Darren’s time with Chicago came to a thudding close. He had a tryout for the Cardinals but opted to return home to Dallas and retired.
Darren has struggled continued to struggle with his demons. He lost a lot of things along the way including his wife and house. Currently Darren is serving a 27 year sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of interference with commerce by robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
I sent to a home address that I had for Darren, and after about 3-4 months I got a response back. The postmark was from Shreveport- where I’d assume he’s being housed in federal prison.
After making his mark at Blinn Junior College, SaQwan Edwards transferred to New Mexico where he played from 2012 to 2014. Originally for the Lobos, SaQuan was a wide receiver. He’d record 11 plays from scrimmage for 90 yards and a TD. Then he’d convert over to corner in 2013 and post 42 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, 4 pass deflections and an interception. Edwards improved off those numbers slightly in 2014 with an additional 42 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 9 pass deflections, and 2 interceptions.
After not being drafted, thanks in part to a highly publicized rape accusation that was later dismissed, SaQwan was signed by the Raiders, and spent a good portion of 2015 and 2016 on and off the bubble of the team’s practice squad. In 2017, he was briefly a member of the Giants, before moving on to The Spring League in 2018.
In early 2019, SaQwan signed with the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF and saw limited playing time with the team making 1 tackle and a pass deflection on the season. He was later selected by the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL 2020, but declined to join the franchise after feeling the pay was not sufficient enough.
Slowly I had been working my way back around to Mike after about a 9 year layoff or so. I had been sold the Score 1990 card as part of a big lot of cards from the Akron Acquisition- so I needed a few more to fill out the ranks. Mike is another one of these players I didn’t want to see in his other NFL uniform (Falcons in this case). He still had some great Oilers cards I wanted to get signed- and once I got the Upper Deck 1997 card -in 2018, I made the decision to write him again. To seal the deal I also pulled this Panini Contenders card of him and put it aside for send out since I’ve gotten a few autographs recently around that set.
High grades for his Legends card from Upper Deck. Love the sports photography and how its got that nice action blur in the background. Far too often I’ve noticed photos where the people in the background are clear as day and distract from the player. In this case- this photo feels like a training or mini camp shot. I think the bushy trees give it away. Still, it’s a nice piece.
Mike’s Action Packed 1990 card is okay. I think it’s typical of AP at that time with that distance of framing images, but in this case, I feel like the image should’ve been pulled back a bit. Was Mike diving for a TD? Reaching out from a pile? Struggling to get back to the line of scrimmage? The design like all AP from 90 was simple and elegant however.
The Score 1990 set was a letdown from 89. I mean nothing could top what they did in that first set. The design here is nice, but the bordering with the logo is a bit heavy. The neon green marquee feels a bit unnecessary and forced. I kept wondering, “What does purple have to do with the Oilers?” It’s a decent action shot but I question Mike’s sense of dress as his thermal shirt sleeves are quite dated.
No question the Panini Contenders Draft Picks set has grown on me over the last… year or so. While I find it a bit over designed it’s a set that has a good selection of names in it. This shot however of Mike is terrible. He just looks like he’s jogging off the field to the sidelines.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.